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Homemade Tofu with Andrea Nguyen

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Hello everyone,

It's Andrea Nguyen, author of Asian Tofu. Thanks so much for delving deeply into bean curd goodness.

WOW. I knew that TheTinCook made his own press but the DIY nigari impresses extra. I wish I could award you a special tofu star. Really.

With regard to soy milk machines, I bought one for $125 and used it just a few times. It's really because I manipulate the soy milk richness and the machines fabricated for a limited ratio of water to beans. The machine now sits in my garage.

For a block tofu shortcut, find a tasty fresh soy milk (sold refrigerated in plastic 2-quart containers) and make tofu from that. I look for soy milk made from non-GMO or organic beans. Artisan tofu makers and Asian markets are good sources for excellent soy milk.

Once you get the hang of making soy milk from scratch, it's not that time consuming. Seriously. Soaking the beans is passive cooking time. Active cooking is about 1 hour. The deal with going from the bean is that you can control/tinker with the beans, water, coagulant. Freshly made tofu is akin to fabulous bread or cheese that you made yourself. Treat it simply to fully enjoy its deliciousness.

On the other hand, many tofu dishes can be prepared with store bought tofu.

Love your curiosity and creativity with okara. (I'm going to play around with the egg and okara concept.) In the main, you can use soy milk lees (okara) like wet wheat germ in baked goods to lessen the use of eggs and flour (up your leavening though); you're adding fiber and a little protein via the okara. For okara-based savories, feature it in croquettes (think of it as the bread binder) or an old fashioned Japanese bar snack called unohana. I recently turned okara into a gluten-free soy panko. Keep okara frozen.

If I feel like discarding okara, I sprinkle it my garden. Same goes for the whey, which is good as a light stock.

Again, thanks for hopping on the tofu train. Ping me if you have questions, etc.


Andrea Q. Nguyen

Author, food writer, teacher

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 2006)


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