I first made homemade tofu a few weeks back and am now addicted to it. I cannot believe how simple it is to make and how delicious freshly made tofu is when it is still warm; and how different it is to the bland slimy tofu that is sold in shops. Now I have made a few batches of plain tofu I have adapted and simplified the technique, using slightly fewer soy beans and pressing the tofu less. Even with less pressing homemade tofu is still firmer than most shop bought tofu. You do not need a tofu press to make tofu, an empty plastic box, piece of cheese cloth or muslin and a weight will suffice, it is much easier with a press and if you are going to regularly make tofu I do recommend getting one.
As an experiment I added a handful of spinach leaves to my soymilk at the same time as the coagulant and I was delighted with the result. Pretty and delicious fresh tofu with a twist. I am sure that the possibilities here are endless I am already thinking about herb tofu, mushroom tofu, chilli tofu…
Spinach Tofu (to make one block)
3½oz (100g) soy beans
3 pints water
1tbs vinegar (or juice of half a lemon)
Handful baby spinach leaves
Wash the soy beans well and soak in cold water for at least 8 hours (if leaving for more than 12 put bowl in the fridge). Rinse beans well again, picking out any loose skins.
Put beans in the food processor and add ½ pint water, blitz well until beans are finely ground and you have a thick white paste.
Place ground beans mixture in a large pot, add the remaining 2½ pints of water and bring to the boil. Gently simmer the soy milk for 10 mins stirring from time to time.
Strain through a muslin cloth into a large bowl. Reserve the soy bean pulp (okara) for other dishes.
Add the vinegar or lemon juice to the hot soy milk, stir once and then leave for10 minutes (I added a large handful of spinach leaves at this point). After this time the mixture should have coagulated into curds and whey.
Line the tofu press (or sieve) with cheesecloth or muslin and pour the curds and whey in, when nearly drained fold the cloth over the unpressed tofu, put the lid on the press and lightly press. (I find a single can of beans is the perfect weight).
After 20 minutes the tofu should be firm and ready. Home made tofu will be firmer than shop tofu and springier. Pressing weights and times will vary according to the beans and the coagulant used so you will need to experiment.
Gently remove from the mould and slice and serve warm with soy sauce and olive oil.