Tofu, Anyone?

As many of you know I’m majoring in Hospitality Management. This major allows us to have a hands-on approach to the hospitality industry by offering a variety of lab classes that include cooking, baking, or serving to the guests that visit the Janet Lefler Dining Room. This semester I am taking The Art of Vegetarian Cuisine and it is truly amazing to learn about the substitute ingredients that are being used to make the evolution of this particular diet possible.

I was actually a vegetarian for fifteen years and found that while it was extremely unique and healthy from a culinary perspective, as I got older I realized that I was lacking nutrients and that would leave me feeling fatigued very easily from simple daily tasks. Yet, it has allowed me to have a vast palate when it comes to different cuisines and I have a huge love for fruits and vegetables as well as what they do for our bodies.

Last week, we had the pleasure of studying plant based proteins for vegetarians/vegans; their diet lacks valuable proteins as well as vitamins that would naturally be found in animal products so these nutrients must be absorbed from other foods. Tofu as well as tempeh and seitan which are high in protein due to the nutrients present in the plants but are transformed into a more meat-like product.

I was able to make seitan last week as well as make tofu from scratch and the process has allowed me to have a better appreciation for vegetarian cuisine. The process was eye-opening to the fact that meatless proteins are created in many different ways and truly utilize the specific ingredient.

Homemade Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

2 quarts soy milk

Coagulant (Choose one of the following):

2 tsp. Terra Alba aka Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate) or

1 tsp. Nigari Flakes (Magnesium Chloride) or

1/2 tsp. Liquid Nigari (Magnesium Chloride)

Instructions:

Boil the soy milk for 5 minutes and then let it cool to 160-175°F (70-80°C) degrees.

If you are making soy milk using a soy milk maker, there is no need to boil the milk again.

Dissolve the coagulant of your choice in a cup of warm water–do not let it set too long!

Mix the water and coagulant mixture into the hot soy milk. Gently stir the milk but do not over mix. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 15-25 minutes.

While the mixture sits, small white curds will separate from amber colored liquid.

Once the process is complete, transfer the curds into a molding container lined with cheesecloth or a similar fabric. Fold the fabric over the curds and place a small weight on top to begin pressing out the liquid.  Allow the mixture to be pressed by the weight for 20-30 minutes or until it holds together. Remove the block of tofu from the mold.

If you don’t plan to consume the tofu the same day that you make it, store it in a container filled with cold water in the refrigerator. Change this soaking water daily until you consume your tofu.

Makes a little less than a pound of tofu.

the production of tofu being drained

Image by: Brianna Vasquez

Tips for Making Tofu

The amount of coagulant used will influence the texture of the final product: For instance, more coagulant will produce firmer tofu, while less coagulant will produce softer tofu.

If you plan to consume the tofu within 24 hours of it being made, there is no need to store it in water.

To give the tofu a more fibrous texture, cover the tofu in water in a seal-able container and place in the freezer.  Thaw when ready to use.

Adapted from CulturesForHealth

Comment below the vegetarian meals that you enjoy. Or the ones you wish to try in the future. But I encourage trying vegetarian food at least a few times, it truly is an exciting experience and if done correctly you will be astounded by the results.

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