Making Tofu from Scratch
Making tofu was something that I never thought I would do. Because I grew up with this firm beancurd as it was always available around me if I wanted to.
Then when I moved thousands of miles away from Indonesia, I admitted that I had taken Tahu – as we call it in Indonesian- for granted.
Even though it is now easy to buy tofu from most supermarkets, it was not the case when I just relocated more than 15 years ago. I had to make my own tofu from scratch if I fancied it. Or, I had to go to Chinatown to buy it so I couldn’t really get hold of it easily.
Over the years, I tried and tested many recipes to make my own tofu at home. Because I like the idea of being able to make it and enjoy it whenever I want to, without having to travel far to Chinatown.
But I didn’t find one recipe that drives me to make it again and again. So every time, I was always on trial. Until recently, during the lockdown.
Thanks to the pandemic, I had to put more effort into making tofu that I really like.
And everything just clicked when I understood what it is that can make my tofu tasty.
The secret of making tasty tofu
It hit me that the Indonesian tofu that I was accustomed to was slightly salty. Also, the Indonesians have yellow tofu that is cooked in spiced turmeric.
Therefore, Tahu Kuning – yellow tofu in Indonesia is ever so tasty.
I now understand that the ratio of water and Soybeans make a difference in the texture and flavour of the tofu.
The higher you put Soybeans in the mixture, the more flavour you get from your tofu.
Plus, you want to make sure you have good quality muslin cloth and at least double fold it when you sieve the soya milk. So that your tofu texture will be fine, soft and smooth.
The three ingredients
You will only need the Soybeans, water and coagulant.
If possible, try to get dried organic Soybeans as they are tastier than the non-organic ones. The funny thing is I find the price of the two has no much discrepancies. So I always go for organic ones now. And if you buy in bulk, you get more value for the price you pay.
Water is quite self-explanatory, right? 😉
As for tofu coagulant, there are two types:
- Magnesium Chloride is also called Nigari powder. This coagulant is used to make silken soft tofu. Just like the Japanese style one.
- Calcium Sulphate. This coagulant is more commonly used. It makes the firm and extra firm tofu. You can make soft tofu as well with this coagulant, but the texture is slightly different from the silken one. This type of coagulant is used widely in Indonesia. So I’m used to this firm texture type of tofu.
How to make
It is pretty straightforward to make tofu. All you do is, make the soya milk and mix the coagulant with it. Then put the mixture in the mould to set. That’s it. Easy, isn’t it?
Firstly, you soak the Soybeans overnight. Then you blend it with water until you get a smooth Soybeans mixture.
Note here: you can then sieve this mixture using double folded muslin cloth before you cook this raw soya milk. But I personally like to boil it before sieving. Because I like using the Soybeans pulp – that is also called Okara – to make Oncom. I will share how to make Oncom next time.
Secondly, you boil the milk. Make sure you keep an eye on the temperature of the milk when it gets to 100°C/ 212°F. Because you want to sort of pasteurise the milk by keeping it at this temperature for about 10 minutes.
At the same time, you have to keep stirring and mixing to prevent the milk curdling and getting hard at the bottom of the pan.
Then you turn the heat off and let the milk temperature cool down to 80°C/ 176°F.
Next, you sieve the milk. Please be careful when you squeeze the pulp/ Okara as the milk temperature is still hot at 80°C/ 176°F.
Thirdly, you dissolve the coagulant with a little bit of water (about ¼ cup) and then mix it with the soya milk. Just give a few thorough stirs. A note of caution, don’t overmix the coagulant as it can break the tofu texture and cause your tofu making to fail.
Lastly, you want to pour the mixture into the mould and let it set.
If you want to make Tahu Kuning (yellow tofu), all you have to do is boil your readily set tofu in spiced turmeric water. And then let it rest overnight. Easy peasy. The secret lies in the proportion of your spices and salt. 😄
As for the mould, you can get it from the Asian shop in Chinatown or get it online. I just use the colander that I brought from Indonesia. You can do the same if you want. But make sure you get a good quality muslin cloth.
How to store
If you make firm tofu, you can use it pretty much in all sorts of cooking as it is quite versatile. My favourite way is to just deep fry for a few minutes and then enjoy it with sweet soy sauce that is mixed with chopped chillies. Or, if I have time and energy 😆, I sometimes make stuffed tofu, Tahu Isi.
But if you don’t want to use your tofu straightaway, you can store it in a container and fill the water in to cover it all. Keep it refrigerated. It can stay fresh for about one week in the fridge. And you can freeze it to keep it as long as three months.
I never make it that long as hubby and kids love tofu. So they will polish them as soon as they find out I make some. And often I never cook it first. Because as my little one says, it’s technically cooked anyway.
Tutorial of how to make tofu
Thank you for reading the post. I hope you’re now interested in trying to make your very own tofu. Let me know in the comments below (leave a reply box) what you think about this tutorial. I really appreciate it if you do that. And tag me @soyummyrecipesbydevy on Instagram or Pinterest when you share your picture of creation. I would love to have a peek too.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my recipes that you can try with your tofu.
- Ketoprak Jakarta – vermicelli, bean sprouts and tofu salad with spicy peanuts dressing.
- Gado-Gado – mixed vegetables salad with peanut sauce.
- Mie Goreng: Indonesian stir-fried noodles.
- Asinan Jakarta – crispy salad with spicy peanuts and tamarind.
Thank you and all the best.