Tofu Academy

After learning how to make miso, mochi, ramen and umeshu, last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a tofu making workshop.

In Switzerland, tofu is a food for vegetarians and regarded as a meat alternative. Here, tofu is much more and definitely not a meat replacement. Some foods and dishes are even made from tofu and meat or fish. Which means that as a vegetarian, you can definitely not just order a tofu dish thinking you are on the safe side :-)

Tofu-sensei Hiroyuki Arai with his three eager pupils

The tofu master had his little factory nicely prepared for the workshop with us. Do you see the colourful tablecloths?

While Kyoko and I were led step by step through the tofu making process, Ryoko was preparing ganmodoki. Ganmodoki (がんもどき / 雁擬き) are deep-fried patties made from a very dry and crumbly tofu with additional ingredients such as vegetables, algae, egg, fish, meat and/or condiments.

The whole process took about 2 hours. It was interesting to see how my tofu turned out totally different to Kyoko’s one. Hers was softer. The temperature of the soy milk when you add the nigari (= coagulant) and how you stir in the nigari decides how soft the tofu turns out. But not just the texture, also the taste was somehow different. Really interesting.

While waiting for the soy milk to cool down, I got the sieved out leftovers from step 8. It’s something like the skin which builds on milk when heating it up. It had a very smooth texture and tasted almost a bit sweet.

The solids I pressed out during step 6 are called okara. Even though my first job after graduating as a dietitian was in the food industry and we were also producing tofu, I was not really aware of this by-product. What a shame…! In Switzerland we don’t commonly know this food, even though there is some tofu production in Switzerland, okara did not find its way into our cuisine. Well, I will definitely find out what I can do with my share of okara I took home.

It is rich in dietary fibers and surprisingly still contains more protein than a yogurt. If you’re interested what else can be found in it, check it out in the Japanese food composition database. The 2015 version has been translated into English and contains many soy and tofu related entries. By the way, Ryoko was the person responsible to create and publish this database version. That’s also how I met her in 2014. She was responsible for the Japanese database and me for the Swiss one :-)

After the hard work, we sat down and tasted the yummy ganmodoki Ryoko prepared.

After the workshop we went home with a bag full of yummy goodies. My fridge and freezer almost came to its limit :-)

If you ever have the chance to come to Tokyo (if there will ever be a time after Covid….) and you would like to learn to make tofu. This is the place to go!!!

Saitamaya http://saitamaya.net – Kiai Tofu http://kiaitofu.com

Tofu Academy on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tofu.academy

Kiai Tofu on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kiaitofu3108/

By the way, the same day in the afternoon, I went to a Taiwanese restaurant and had a tofu dessert. Very sweet and very yummy :-)

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