The art of handcrafted tofu

Seven years ago, Lee Khang Yee of Flavours Magazine conveyed her intention of writing an article on handmade tofu using organic soybeans. I gladly shared my recipes and here is and excerpt of her article to share with you.

June Ka Lim

If you Making Better Tofu

By: Lee Khang Yee/Flavours magazine April 2008 issue

Photographed by Yap Chee Hong

think you are not eating the best tofu that you can, here are a host of better tofu recipes, starting with a better bean and leaving out the questionable additives.

DSC02561it is said that only the Chinese and Japanese can truly appreciate tofu. White as chalk and almost as bland, it is a wonder tofu has gotten this far as a major food ingredient. Its claim to promoting health, and its role as a major-and-cheap-non-animal source of protein have everything to do with it; today, we want to eat more tofu.

The demand for more soybean-based food has lead to its genetic modification, which today has become a worrying concern. Tofu manufacturing methods using additives that are potential health hazards is another.

Some commercial processes for making soymilk using alkaline soaking solution that can create lysinoalanine, a carcinogen.

As such, it is a good idea to make your own soy-based products such as the beancurd. Coagulating the soybean milk is the most important part of the process of making tofu. Traditionally, the Chinese use calcium sulfate to create a tofu rich in calcium. However, due to health concerns, organic food practitioners prefer to use nigari to coagulate the milk.

Nigari is a clear solution of magnesium chloride extracted from sea water and is said to bring out the natural sweetness of soybean milk. This method of coagulation is preferred by the Japanese.

In his book, Shunju, Takashi Sugimoto describes several ways for making your own nigari., the most natural of which is by boiling down seawater over high heat until salt crystals start to appear. “When the crystals start to gather into larger crystals, the liquid on top is the nigari,” he says.

Legend traces tofu’s origin to China, where an accidental addition of sea salt to pureed soybean milk created curds that formed into tofu.  Some claim the process was adapted from the Mongolian cheese-making method.

Soy protein is recognized as a high quality protein, rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre and low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Although tofu is pretty much bland on its own, it is quite delicious when dressed up with various kinds of vegetables and sauces.

The combinations are almost endless and tofu can also be stir-fried, deep fried, steamed, baked, boiled and braised. It is used in the cuisines of the people throughout Asia and Southeast Asia. A finer and more delicate form of tofu is also made into a sweet dessert, the popular street fare, tau fu fah, which in Cantonese means “flowers of tofu”.

Nigari, cypress wooden tofu forming moulds and certified organic soybeans are available at Woods Macrobiotics Tel: 03-7958 5795 www.macrobiotics-malaysia.com

Compiled by June Ka Lim, macrobiotic vegan chef

May 2015

Upcoming handcrafted tofu making class:

Oct 3, 2015  (Saturday)

Time: 3pm to 5 pm

Fee: Rm 350 including a Cypress wooden tofu mould

Registration:

Woods Eco-cuisine Sdn Bhd

Email: junekalim@gmail.com

SMS/whatsapp: 012-8775138

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