How to Make Tofu

Use nigari diluted to 1/5th or 1/6th. Carefully pour into soymilk, stir slowly to thicken. Put through a sieve and set into a square to make “Zaru-Tofu”. If drained of water it becomes real handmade tofu. Adjusting the firmness will affect the solidity, but even if you use a large amount, running it under water will take the nigari out of it.

Molding box for shaping the tofu, plus a cloth for the same purpose.
Cotton strainer
Wooden spoon
Large saucepan

Ingredients for making two blocks of tofu:
2 cups of soybeans
16 cups of water
20cc of nigari

Step 1: Soak the beans.

Wash soybeans and place in 7 cups of water to soak for one day and night

Step 2: Crush the soybeans

Mash soaked soybeans, together with the soaking water, for 1½-2 minutes.

Note: It will be easier to separate soybean mix into three piles when mashing. You can either mash by hand or use a blender.

Step 3: Boil the mixture

Bring seven cups of water to boil in a large saucepan, and add crushed soybeans. It can burn easily so boil while stirring from the bottom using a wooden spoon. Once it has come to boil, simmer for 7-8 minutes.

Step 4: Squeeze the soymilk

Squeeze the crushed soybean mixture in a bag made from cotton cloth. As it’s quite hot put the bag into a sieve and while holding it shut with your right hand squeeze with a spatula using your left hand. Lastly dip the whole bag in two cups of water and while it cools wring it over and over again with your hands to make thick soymilk. (The squeezed out liquid is soymilk, or “tou-nyu”, the leftover material in the cloth is tofu refuse, or “o-kara”)

Note: Squeeze it like you’re crushing it. How you squeeze it will affect the strength of the tofu.

Step 5: Beating the bitter soup

Make nigari solution by diluting 20mls of nigari to 1/5th in water. Indirectly heat the soymilk by placing it in a container filled with hot water for five minutes. Cool it down to 10°, and then add nigari. Replace the soymilk in the hot water container, and while stirring slowly it will begin to set. When one or two transparent places have appeared, cover and let stand for fifteen minutes.

Step 6: Skimming the surface

Using a small sieve, dip out the light yellowy-white colored surface layer. This liquid should be pleasantly sweet, so if it tastes bitter probably too much nigari has been used.

Step 7: Pour into the molding box.

Wrap the box in a criss-cross pattern with the molding cloth and ladle the tofu mixture into it. Fold the cloth and place the top cover on it, pour water into a cup and use it as a weight on the top to press on the tofu. The more weight on top, or the longer you leave it, the firmer the tofu will be.

Step 8: Ready to eat!

After 20-30 minutes, take the tofu out of the molding box in the water. Leaving it in water for too long will remove the sweetness so quickly place it in the refrigerator.