This is a step by step instruction of perfect homemade tofu with super easy ingredients. Tofu is a magic food. Chinese people loves almost all things from soy milk, the very basic is soy milk, then all types of tofu, fermented tofu, marinated tofu, dried tofu and tons of delicious tofu dishes. It was quite hard to buy in the past two days so I made a lot of batches myself at home. Follow the steps and you will find homemade tofu is very funning and easy.
About the coagulants
There are several commonly used coagulants in Chinese cuisine. The first group is salt coagulants (盐卤) including gypsum (石膏粉) and Nigari salts (In Sichuan cuisine we call this 胆巴). And the second group is Acid coagulants including GDL (葡萄糖内脂), mainly for super tender tofu and tofu pudding. But regular acid including rice vinegar or even lemon juice can help the soy milk becoming solid too. I demonstrate about how to make tofu with rice vinegar in this video. But other coagulants works too.
My grandmother is quite good at making tofu, douhua and fermented tofu. If you are interested in how we make large batch of tofu at home, check this video on INS. Homemade tofu, although requires times, taste better than store bought version because of the stronger aroma of soy beans. So I recommend all of the foodie trying at least once to find the small differences.
Difference based on the coagulants
GDL and gypsum can produce the most tender tofu comparing with other three types. Rice vinegar and lemon juice can make soft tofu, firm tofu and extra firm tofu.
- Soy milk should be boiled before eating. Uncooked soy milk is harmful to our healthy. But watch out the fire carefully, it overflows quickly.
- No thermometer by hand, let the soy milk cool down about 2-3 minutes. The temperature should be in the right range.
- Take time when stirring the vinegar water in and stop once the liquid turns transparent and clear. We don't need to use all of it.
Wash the soy beans and then soak the soy beans overnight or 4 hours until softened. Transfer to a blender and add water. Blend until very smooth.
Place a gauze on a strainer and then strain the soy milk.
Bring the soy milk to a boil. Watch carefully since it overflows easily. Skin off the bubbles on the surface. Stir from time to time in the heating to avoid sticky bottom(recommend at least 15 minutes, Thanks Nicolas for the suggestion about the trypsin inhibitor). Remove from heat and rest for 2 to 3 minutes until the temperature drops around 80 degree C to 90 degree C.
Whisk 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar or 3 fresh lemon juice with 1 cup of water.
Use a small spoon and gently stir the acid mixture in. You can watch the video for the details until all of the tofu protein is firmed (the liquid above becomes clear). You don't need to use all of the vinegar mixture. Once the liquid is clear, stop the step.
Now we get the Sichuan style douhua if slightly pressed.
Transfer to a shaping tool and press a weight. I use a stone crusher in the video. You can use anything with a heavy weight. The tofu can be pressed from 10 minutes (soft tofu) to 1 hour (firm tofu). You can use wooden presser or plastic presser.
After the processing, I recommend soak the tofu in cold water for at least half an hour so the texture can be more intense and by the way, possible to remove the extra sour or bitterness caused by the coagulants.
I use this batch to made a soup with super tender Chinese style meatballs. And also an easy pan-fried tofu. Following are some ideas about how to use your tofu. The long list show how much I love tofu.
1. Mapo tofu
2. Sweet and Sour Tofu
3. Pan-fried tofu
4. Steamed tofu with chili sauce
5. Steamed tofu
6. Pan-fried tofu with black bean sauce
7.Tofu and Bok Choy Soup
9.Kung Pao Tofu
10.Crispy sesame tofu
11.Minced pork and tofu fritters
- 3 cups soy beans , clean and pre-soaked with water until soft
- 5 L water , for blending the soy beans and washing the pulp
- 3 tbsp. rice vinegar , or juice from 3 lemons
- 1 cup water
- Wash the soy beans and then soak the soy beans overnight until softened. Transfer to a blender and add water. Blend until very smooth. I blend the soy beans by three batches, each time with 1L water for blending and another 500 to 700ml to wash the pulp.
- Place a gauze on a strainer and then strain the soy milk. When the pulp is almost dry, add more water and wash the pulp. Squeeze the gauze bag forcefully to make sure all the liquid is squeezed.
- Bring the soy milk to a boil. Watch carefully since it overflows easily. Stir from time to time to avoid a burnt bottom(recommend simmer for 15 minutes for the consideration of trypsin inhibitor). Skin off the bubbles on the surface. Remove from heat and rest for 2 to 3 minutes until the temperature drops around 80 degree C to 90 degree C. Stir from time to time during the heating to avoid sticky bottom.
- Whisk 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar or 3 lemon juice with 1 cup of water.
- Use a small spoon and gently stir the acid mixture in. You can watch the video for the details until all of the tofu protein is firmed (the liquid above becomes clear). You don’t need to use all of the vinegar mixture. Once the liquid is clear, stop the step.
- Transfer to a shaping tool, you can use a rectangle strainer. Press with a weight. Set aside for 15 minutes for softer version or 30 minutes for firm version.
- After the processing, I recommend soak the tofu in cold water for at least half an hour so the texture can be more intense and by the way, possible to remove the extra sour or bitterness caused by the coagulants.