This recipe is adapted from Vietnamese-born cookbook writer Andrea Nguyen’s book “Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home.” Nigari is a coagulant for making tofu; you can buy it online or substitute Epsom salt. If you don’t make your own soy milk first, as they do at Tao Yuan, buy it at a local Asian market or natural foods store. Check the ingredients; you don’t want any additives. This recipe requires a tofu mold; Tao Yuan staff bought a wooden mold on Amazon, which came with a package of nigari.
8 cups fresh, unsweetened soy milk
11/2 teaspoons nigari
Simmer the soy milk in a large pot for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve the nigari in 1/2 cup water and set aside.
Let the soy milk cool for 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to accelerate the cooling. With a fine-mesh sieve, skim off bubbles and any skin that forms on the soy milk.
Stir the milk in a ‘z’ pattern to get it moving quickly – this is important for best tofu texture. While moving the spoon, pour in one-third of the coagulant. Hold the spoon in the center of the pot until the milk stops moving, then slowly remove the spoon.
A teaspoon at a time, add another third of the coagulant without disturbing the milk.
Be sure to evenly disperse the coagulant.
Clamp on a tight-fitting lid and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Remove the lid, add the final third of the coagulant in the same manner. Agitate the top half-inch of the mixture with a spoon. Cover again and let sit 3 more minutes.
Meanwhile, set up your tofu mold. After the last 3-minute period, the tofu solids should be separated from the “whey.”
Ladle the solids into the mold, trying to keep the curds as big as possible.
Put the lid on the mold, and weigh down with 3 pounds of even pressure for 15 to 20 minutes.
Gently remove the fresh tofu from the mold and slip into cold water.
Let sit for 2 hours to allow flavor to develop, then enjoy.
Tofu will keep a week in the refrigerator if the water is changed every day.