Homemade Tofu #SundaySupper

by Amy Kim on April 28, 2013 · 90 comments

Homemade Tofu | www.kimchimom.comI found a couple of recipes for homemade tofu and for the past two weeks, I read them over and over. And each time, I grew more nervous as I tried to envision each step of the recipe – soak beans, purée beans, boil purée, strain purée, heat milk, add nigari, stir, scoop into molds, set molds, and cross fingers. I felt like I was cramming for a huge exam…I just didn’t want to fail.

Homemade Tofu | www.kimchimom.com

I was first intrigued with homemade tofu when La Fuji Mama posted a recipe about 4 years ago. Then I came across another recipe 2 years ago in Food and Wine. I bought a 4-pound bag of soybeans and it sat in my pantry for about a year. Then this Sunday Supper event came about, and I knew it was time. Oh yes, it was time.

The ingredients are few – soybeans which you can find at most grocery stores, a coagulant like the Japanese nigari, and water. I was so close to buying a special tofu mold, but realized quickly that it wasn’t necessary. I just happened to have a couple of those strawberry containers that I read would suffice. If that didn’t work, I could always use a colander. The only thing left to buy was the nigari, the coagulant which was easily found on amazon.com.

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So I not only made this recipe once, but three times! I’d say I conquered this one!

Homemade Tofu

Yields about 6 ounces

8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cup) dried soybeans
Water
1 teaspoon nigari (magnesium chloride)

To make the soy milk (yields about 4 cups):

1 – In a large bowl, add beans and cover with water. Add enough so that the water level is about 2-inches above surface of beans. Soak overnight or for about 8-12 hours.

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2 – Drain the beans and reserve the bowl. You will use the bowl to hold the puréed beans. Measure about 1 cup of spring or filtered water. In a blender or food processor, add half the beans and 1/2 cup of water. Puree the beans. Set aside the purée in the reserved bowl. Purée the second batch of beans with the remaining 1/2 cup of water.

3 – Line a colander with a food-safe fine cotton cloth or 3 layers of cheesecloth. Place the colander in a large heat-proof bowl.

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4 – In a large pot, bring 5 cups of spring or filtered water to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the puréed beans and stir with a wood or a heat-proof rubber spatula . Lower heat to medium and simmer for 8 minutes. Continue to stir while scraping the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over. When the mixture starts to foam up, either take the pot off the heat until the foaming subsides or add several tablespoons of cold water.

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4 – Drain the purée in the lined colander and let sit for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is cool enough to handle. Gather the ends of the cloth to form a ball with the purée and squeeze out as much of the remaining liquid. The purée should look dry at this point. Reserve the purée to make this or kongbiji jigae (soybean stew, a recipe I’ll share in a couple of weeks) or discard them.

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To make the tofu:

5 – While the purée is draining, wash out the pot that you just used to make the soy milk.

6 – Still waiting? Dissolve 1 teaspoon of nigari in 1/4 cup of spring or filtered water. Set aside.

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7 – Pour the soy milk into the clean pot. Turn the heat up to high and heat the milk up to 175°F. Monitor the temperature with a heat-proof cooking thermometer. Once it reaches this temperature, take the pot off the heat.

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8 – Now you will add the coagulant or the nigari solution. Add 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the nigari solution. Stir to combine and you will see the milk starting to coagulate. Cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

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9 – While you’re waiting, line your tofu mold or colander with a fine cloth or 3 layers of cheesecloth.

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10 – Ladle the tofu into the mold. Overlap the tofu with the ends of the cloth. Place a plate or something flat (in my case, the trimmed berry container cover) on top and place a weight atop the flat surface. Two 14-ounce cans OR one 32-ounce box of broth worked for me. Let the tofu sit anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how firm you want the tofu.

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11 – Carefully unwrap the tofu. Use right away or place in a storage container large enough to hold the tofu and enough water to keep it submerged. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use. It should be good for about 3 days.

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Here is what the rest of the Sunday Supper crew is conquering in food this week! Thank you to Conni of The Foodie Army Wife for hosting such a great event!

New Expeditions (Sides, Starters & Staples)

Grand Quests (Main Dishes)

Escapades (Sweet Treats & Spirited Companions)

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, April 28th to talk all about our foodie fears! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 3:00 pm AKST/7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

I’m excited about the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper! It’s being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Check it out by clicking here → Food & Wine Conference

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  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    Isn´t this recipe amazing Amy! I´m not a tofu person, at all. But homemade is probably a very different story from store bought. It does look great. Thanks for this recipe.

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Paula! Homemade is definitely tastes better, especially the soy milk!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog

    Amy, you are so talented! I love that you made and conquered homemade tofu, and I love that you were thrifty about it and used a strawberry container. Awesome recipe!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Jennie!

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  • http://twitter.com/JBuggica Jennifer Buggica

    Whoa, seriously, what a thing to conquer! I don’t know that I have it in me hahaha

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! It took me about 4 years to finally do it!

  • http://twitter.com/wallet_appetite Laura Hunter

    What, what?! Homemade tofu? What an incredible ingredient to conquer. I need to give this a try as we are big tofu lovers.

    • kimchi_mom

      Just making the soy milk is worth it! It does take a lot of time and I feel like I still haven’t mastered quite yet.

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  • http://TheFoodieArmyWife.com/ Conni

    Who knew you could make that at home?! Oh, and I LOVE your pyrex dish. I have a vintage Pyrex collection :)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! I have two sets and I love them! I bought the blue set at a flea market in NYC (the BEST flea markets) about 10 years ago and just nabbed the second set from my mom! :-) I feel an obsession coming on….

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  • Jennifer Drummond

    Wow! Great job! It looks amazing! I didn’t realize you could make tofu at home, I love it!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • http://twitter.com/reneedobbs Renee Dobbs

    Oh wow! What a process and definitely something to be proud of conquering.

    • kimchi_mom

      A very involved process! Let’s just say it’ll be a while before I make homemade tofu again…

  • http://twitter.com/familyfoodie Isabel Foodie

    All I can say is…. you are just amazing! Beautiful photography!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Isabel! :-)

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  • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    This is so cool! Kind of similar to making ricotta. What a perfect new kitchen adventure. Also…I have the necklace you’re wearing in the photo on your “about” page :) I wear it CONSTANTLY! haha.

    • kimchi_mom

      Totally similar to making cheese! I made paneer a few months ago, but tofu is a little more involved since I had to make the soy milk. And, yeah, I love that necklace! It’s so versatile, isn’t it? :-)

      • http://www.foxeslovelemons.com/ Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

        Yep, whenever an outfit isn’t quite cute enough…just throw on that necklace and you’re good to go :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tara.noland.5 Tara Noland

    Nicely done!! I wouldn’t have had the first clue in how to make tofu. Thanks for sharing!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Tara!

  • http://twitter.com/sonisfood Soni

    Oh my! Home made Tofu sounds and looks so so good!We love Tofu and I would love to try out your recipe and impress my family ;)

    • kimchi_mom

      You should give it a shot! :-)

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  • http://www.webicurean.com/ Webicurean

    Impressive! I’ll bet this is much better than the store bought stuff. And you get extra points for using the strawberry containers as a mold!

    • kimchi_mom

      I did feel a bit better re-using the containers. Now I just need to buy reusable cheesecloth! :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/Beatepdx beate weiss-krull

    WOW!!! Homemade tofu that is so very impressive! Congratulations on conquering it :) ~ Bea @ The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Bea!

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  • http://twitter.com/HipFoodieMom1 Alice Choi

    Amy?!!! I am in AWE of you! Dude, you made tofu!!!? What?!! I love this. have been waiting to see this post! looks great! you did it, woot woot!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! I made jigae with the tofu and it was awesome. Also made kongbiji jigae with the ground soybeans! First time having/making it. Delish!!

  • Chef Di

    This is incredible! And so creative on using the strawberry containers. I will surely pass this on… pinning now ;-)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Chef!

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  • Kathya Rodriguez

    Amazing! I need to try it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lizzy.do Lizzy Do

    WOW! I’ve never known anyone to make their own tofu! Yours looks perfect! Congrats!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Lizzy!

  • http://www.girlichef.com Heather @girlichef.com

    Beautiful, Amy! I’ve made my own tofu before, but it was basically a “cheater’s” tofu, because I used soy milk. I’d love to start completely from scratch like this. It looks amazing – fantastic job! (plus, I have a load of nigari just waiting to be used…)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Heather! Funny you should mention the soy milk short cut…after having gone through this I’m going to try just finding a soy milk that I like. The whole soaking to pureeing bit is a little time consuming. Which brand of soy milk did you try? Edensoy looks promising…

      • http://www.girlichef.com Heather @girlichef.com

        I honestly don’t remember (it’s been a while). It wasn’t Edensoy, though…I know that only because I don’t remember seeing that brand. It was probably just Silk, or something. Now that we have a Whole Foods, I’d probably search that for a better brand to use…which would hopefully help it be a bit more firm.

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  • http://twitter.com/HezziD Hezzi-Ds Books&Cooks

    I am so impressed by you! I absolutely love tofu but I don’t think I could ever make it. Great thinking to use the strawberry package for your mold. You rock!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! :-)

  • A_Kiasi

    You are amazing! Truly. I haven’t made tofu before, but I’ve seen it made before and I know it’s a long process. I’m deeply impressed along with others. As much tofu as my family eats, I should give making tofu a try. Ah, one day!

    • kimchi_mom

      It will happen one day! It took me about 4 years to finally make an attempt! :-)

  • bigbearswife

    ooo how interesting I never thought about making that at home. Had no idea where to start. Loved reading this and the step by step photos!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Angie!

  • http://twitter.com/TheGabels Growing Up Gabel

    Add tofu to the list of things easily made at home. What a fun cooking adventure!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheWimpyVegetarian Susan Pridmore

    I make cheese at home, and there are some similarities to this process. Good for you for taking this on!! I honestly had no idea it was even possible to make at home!!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! Yes, very similar to the cheese making process.

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  • The Ninja Baker

    Congratulations, Amy! The tofu looks yummy. Nice to know strawberry containers work in place of tofu molds =)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! I feel better reusing these containers!

  • http://yummysmells.blogspot.com/ Sarah R

    Amazing! Never seen the press or the nigari around here but I need to look for it – gosh knows I eat enough tofu!

    • kimchi_mom

      I found the nigari at amazon.com (you really can buy everything there) after searching around the stores around here.

  • http://neighborfoodblog.com/ Courtney @ Neighborfood

    No way! How cool is that? I had no idea you could make tofu at home! I do the same thing with buying ingredients and then letting them set in my pantry for a year. I bought some pickled ginger because I was SURE I was going to tackle and conquer homemade sushi….that was about 9 months ago…

    • kimchi_mom

      I know! I have other stuff in the pantry just waiting to be used. Fortunately they’re well packaged and can last a few more years… ;-)

  • Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere

    This is amazing! Quite an accomplishment. Your tofu looks perfect!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Sarah!

  • http://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/ Stacy

    I am so impressed, Amy! I remember reading somewhere that handmade tofu was a dying art. You are bringing it back in fine form!

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks Stacy! Where did you read that it was a dying art? I’m curious to know! :-)

      • http://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/ Stacy

        I tried to find it for you before I posted the comment, Amy, but couldn’t seem to find it. (I am anal like that about adding links. :) ) Then it occurred to me that it might possibly have been a Kylie Kwong episode from when she was visiting China. I want to say she was in Hong Kong. If you don’t know her yet, you must look her up. Wonderful Chinese Australian chef with her own restaurant in Sydney and cookbooks and cooking shows. She visited a little place that still hand made tofu and they filmed the process while she chatted with the owner who was making it himself. It was he who said that the next generation had no interest in taking over the family business and that the art was dying out. If I recall correctly.

        • kimchi_mom

          It’s so ironic that there’s this movement in the States (and Canada?) where there’s a great interest in all things homemade, handcrafted, and local. Or maybe I’m in a bubble living close to NYC and in my food blogging world??

          • http://www.foodlustpeoplelove.com/ Stacy

            I think the difference could be that Hong Kong, like Singapore and KL, is geared to eating out well and cheaply. There are plenty of folks who cook and still do things the old fashioned way but the current generation is not so inclined. I know this is a generalization and many would say the same about the US, but in Asia cheap fast food can still mean good fresh made-to-the-minute food, usually with wholesome ingredients, not just junk. Unlike the US. Mostly. In the States, even the food trucks aren’t cheap!

  • Nancy

    You are my kitchen hero, Amy! *bows down repeatedly* This is quite the feat – I’d never have the balls to make my own tofu! That looks like something I could buy in the store. Thanks for the beautiful and super helpful step-by-step photos and instructions.

    • kimchi_mom

      Oh Nance! You’re too much! :-D Thanks!

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  • http://twitter.com/MyKoreanKitchn Sue

    Oh My!! You did it! My hat’s off to you. Great work. I don’t know whether I am patient enough to attempt this lengthy process. :)

    • kimchi_mom

      Thanks! Yeah, I’m not sure if I’m going to do this again anytime soon! ;-)

  • Sissi_Withaglass.com

    Amy, I am in awe of your tofu! Congratulations! I bought nigari probably two years ago… and have never used it. I was worried it wouldn’t work, but now that I see your wonderful results, I feel a bit braver ;-) I have nigari, I have soy beans…time to try at leaast! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • kimchi_mom

      It’s a lot of work, but worth it!

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  • Ann Mah

    Wow, I am impressed! And curious — how did you eat the tofu? Plain? I bet it had a gorgeous, subtle flavor.

    • kimchi_mom

      I ate it plain with some soy ponzu and grated ginger. And I made jigae (soupy stews) with it…perfect texture for the soup! It just added to the “stewy-ness” of the soup! :-)

  • Shauna S

    This is awesome! Looks fun to make.

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