Monday, August 1, 2011

Homemade Tofu

A chef friend of mine said, "You don't like processed food, right? But you like tofu?" I said, "Yeah, but no one makes their own tofu." Just as soon as I said it, I knew that I would. I'm not one to back down from a challenge -- that was a challenge, right? -- so I set out on a journey to make my own tofu.

I hit the books. Once I stared to read about the process, it immediately seemed familiar. It's exactly like making homemade cheese, but with one huge extra step...first you have to make the milk. As if they could somehow read my mind, Food & Wine magazine included an in-depth recipe in their July issue about how to make soy milk form dried soy beans and then transform that milk into tofu skins, silken tofu, or firm tofu.

I have to admit it: I'm terrible at following recipes. I just get sidetracked, I guess, or maybe I just like to be adventuresome in the kitchen, or possibly it's because I never ordered some strange key ingredient in tofu making called nigari (magnesium chloride). Whatever the case may be, I used 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar in place of the nigari when making my firm tofu and, lo and behold, it worked.

What did I do with my precious, hard-fought, homemade tofu? I kept it simple. I grilled slices of tofu that had been sprinkled with a little Old Bay seasoning and sea salt. When they came off the grill, I squeezed a lime juice on them and drizzled the tofu filets with olive oil. The homemade grilled tofu made for delicious "fish" tacos with purple cabbage, avocado, and chipotle sour cream.

Was it worth it? I think so. It was messy, and it was time consuming, but it was fun and it was a success. The resulting tofu had a ton of flavor. Will I be making my own tofu again soon? Probably not, but you just never know...