I am an avid fan of tofu, be it eaten as dessert or savoury dishes. It is not hard to make your own tofu fa. The hardest would be how to make it silky smooth, soft but not too watery. But aside from that, my main dillema is the magic ingredient to turn the soya bean milk to bean curd, which is addressed as coagulation process.
All tofu starts from soya beans to my best knowledge. Back in the olden days, soya beans are grinded with millstones to obtain the soyamilk. This is still in practice nowadays and delightfully, we managed to find a few dessert shops in Hong Kong that are still using this method (which I have forgotten the name of the dessert shop we went and validated that they use stone mill to grind soya beans and others such as sesame, hazelnuts, etc). We also went to 石磨坊 (Shek Mo Fong), which literally means “stone mill”, which I hope they really are using this method to grind the soya beans in Kowloon.
It is a hard labour to use the stone mill or can be substituted with grain grinder. In the absence of these tools, blender has come to my rescue. I used the normal blender to blend the soya beans, with added water.
To start with, the soya beans needed to be soaked overnight preferrably, in hot water, in order to remove the skins. Once that is done, put the soya beans into the blender and water. Unless you have those blenders that separate the residuals and water, otherwise, use cheese cloth to separate them. How?? Just pour whatever in the blender onto the cloth, with a big bowl as the catchment of the soyamilk. The residuals or pulps should be on top of the cloth and wrap it up, and press the pulps to the last drop of soya milk that you could get. Put the pulps in another big bowl and continue with the rest of what you have in the blender.
Once that is all done, pour some water over the bowl which contains the residuals and repeat the steps again to squeeze the added water to the soya milk. Don’t waste!
Now that you have soya milk, next is to make the tofu! Pour the soya milk into a big pot and simmer it till boiling. While simmering it, a layer of curd will formed, and that is officially a beancurd sheet made!
The “magic” ingredient to turn the soy milk to bean curd or known as coagulation is gypsum, which is claimed to have calcium, and apparently have been approvced by US Food & Drug Administration. As a Chinese descendant, I always knew that gypsum is used to make tofu. But only recently I found out that there are other coagulation ingredients. There are some parts of Korea and Japan use seawater/ sea salt to solidify tofu.
Now, the main question is, wouldn’t the seawater makes the tofu salty? It’ll be fine if tofu is prepared as a savoury dish, but how about if we want to make tofu pudding, which is a kind of dessert? I need to put this into a test.
As an alternative, similar concept to making ginger milk curd, can I use ginger juice to make tofu as well? Again, my main challenge is how to reduce the gingery and hotness? As this is a dessert that I want to make, therefore I can still add sugar to the soyamilk before curdling to tofu. This should solved the problem. I don’t even use ginger sugar syrup!
This will be something I’ll explore next weekend!
Since this posting, I did make tofu at home, but more of soya milk curd using ginger sugar syrup. It works, for sure as I have tried many times. But the biggest revelation I found was gypsum was not a bad thing afterall. In fact, it has some medicinal effect in accordance to Traditional Chinese Medicine. I haven’t managed to find gypsum in the UK yet so I haven’t managed to try to make tofu using gypsum. Nor the sea water or sea salt from Japanese or Korean stores. I’m still curious whether the Japanese sea salt will make the tofu salty. Or is it other type of sea salt and not the natural one.