BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

The Softer Side of Tofu

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No longer a foreign, slightly sinister block of bland austerity, tofu has finally come to enjoy mainstream acceptance. Many meatless meals are built upon these solid bean curd foundations everyday, whether the intention is to craft a plant-based dish or not. That sort of universal recognition has been hard won, after many years of residing only within fringe health food stores, or the odd Americanized Chinese stir-fry. Still, what most people recognize as tofu is ironically one-dimensional; firm or extra-firm dominate the shelves, and anything with slightly less structural integrity is deemed crumbly, mushy, or generally unpalatable. If it can’t get crispy or stand up to a solid saute, it just doesn’t make the cut. It’s a real shame that softer, silken varieties are thus overlooked time and again; this rendition is the truest manifestation of tofu, in my humble opinion.

In this form, tofu straddles the line between custard and curd, a savory study in simplicity. Fresh is always best, which could explain some of the hesitance towards equal appreciation. Composed of only quality soymilk and nigari, each element makes a huge impact on the final flavor. The only way to ensure a delicious experience is to make it yourself… And thanks to the convenient tofu kit offered by Morinaga (makers of the very popular self-stable Mori-Nu) that’s not nearly as daunting a task as it may sound. Everything you need is included, from ingredients to hardware.

Granted, the instructions leave quite a bit to be desired. Despite the helpful video guidance for the truly intimidated, there’s no indication of ramekin size or number of servings. Additionally, the time range is quite large, and there are no hints of what to look for when it’s done.

Thankfully, despite these shortcomings, homemade tofu is almost effortless to prepare. You only need to know how to boil water to bring your own bean curd to life. Serving up my first batch still slightly warm, embellished with a bare minimum of garnishes, the experience is downright ethereal. So soft, it practically dissolves on the tongue. Delicate, in texture and flavor, such a product would be impossible to transport or preserve, which is why it far surpasses anything you would find sold in stores. Not aggressively beany but gently nutty, earthy in flavor, it’s the antidote to the super salty, pre-seasoned packs that are simultaneous gaining in popularity.

The beauty of this format is that it can just as easily be dressed up for a sweeter sensation. Topped with adzuki beans gently stewed in brown sugar, my fresh tofu created the perfect creamy base to support this healthy treat.

If you’re still craving something with a bit more of a bite, never fear. It’s just as simple to craft curds with greater density by pressing out some of the water. Rather than pouring the hot soymilk into a serving vessel, let it chill out in the provided mold lined with cheesecloth. After a mere hour or two, you’ll have something primed for slicing. Reminiscent of traditional cheese-making, I couldn’t resist the urge to season mine like feta and toss the cubes into a summery salad of leafy greens, fresh peaches and corn. The results were predictably spectacular.

Although considerably more fragile than mainstream options, the beauty of making your own tofu from scratch is the possibilities for bolder flavorings. Stirring in a healthy dose of sriracha, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs instantly brightened up this particular block, no marination necessary. The sky is the limit for flavorful inclusions, so you only have yourself to blame if you still think tofu is plain and bland.

Bottom line: If you’re already on the tofu bandwagon, this all-inclusive kit will put you over the moon. If you’ve been ambivalent about those soybean blocks, it may finally win you over.

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

8 thoughts on “The Softer Side of Tofu

  1. You are a mind of information Hannah I have to say having tried just ordinary bland tofu that this sounds a great way to add flavour.. :-)

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  2. Not sure if I’ll ever try making my own, but you never know. :-)

    janet

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  3. I love tofu, and your tofu dishes here look amazing, especially that tofu pudding with adzuki beans. I have made tofu once ,from scratch, but the final amount was so small that I did not try it again, although I would love to try that Morinaga kit if they had something like that here.

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  4. Great share on tofu ! Thanks !!

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  5. This looks fabulous and I need more time to try this. I’m actually a fan of tofu in just about all forms, but hubby finds it bland and would love to try introducing more flavors. Thanks!

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  6. Making my own tofu has been on my to do list forever, nice to know there’s a kit with everything needed in it. Tofu custard is the best! drizzled with a little sweetened ginger juice. The adzuki beans on top look good too. :-)

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  7. I took a tofu-making class once, long ago, with the intention of making my own. It was startling to taste the tofu just after it was made — so delicate and delicious. It was like an entirely different food. Sorry to say, I never made any myself, but the experience lingers after all these years.

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  8. Pingback: The Softer Side of Tofu - Vegan Bits

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