Authentic fresh tofu can be made at home very easily, once you have a donabe and high quality soymilk. All you need to do is to heat soymilk, stir in nigari liquid, turn off the heat, and rest until the mixture sets to become tofu. Iga-yaki donabe is perfect for fresh tofu making, because the porous body achieves the gentle and even heat distribution. It also cools down very slowly after turning off the heat, so the tofu can set to ideal stage during the resting time. The fresh warm tofu right out of donabe is simply a joy and I always have my first few tastes without any seasonings or condiments. It's so fluffy, delicate, and pure. Then, I enjoy it with different toppings. Sometimes simply with shaved katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito flakes) and soy sauce, or wasabi, salt, and sesame oil. Ponzu is great, too.
Premium quality Banrai Soymilk and Banrai Nigari Liquid are both available at our shop. So, hope you give it a try. You can make a full-size sukui tofu to share or a small individual-size tofu in a mini-size donabe for everyday breakfast.
The recipe introduced in this page is calling for 1-liter soymilk. For the half amount, you can use a small-size classic-style donabe (approx. 0.8-qt/ 800 ml size). The photos below are made with small-size Rikyu-Tokusa donabe.
For an idividual-size silky tofu making method, please see Banrai Soymilk and Banrai Nigari Liquid product page.
Classic-style donabe (1.2-qt/ 1,200 ml or larger)
4 - 6 as an appetizer
- 1 quart (1 liter) natural soymilk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons regular nigari liquid (2 1/2 tablespoons or 8 packets for Banrai nigari liquid)
- Your choice of condiments (you can make your own combination), such as thinly-sliced green onion, freshly-ground roasted sesame seeds, ground chili, sea salt, soy sauce, ponzu, katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito), etc.
- Heat the soymilk in the donabe over medium heat.
- Once the soymilk is almost simmering (about 180 - 185F/ 80 - 85C), turn off the heat and quickly stir in the nigari liquid.
- Cover with lid (for a cool/ cold environment, cover with a foil under the lid to make sure the extra-tight seal) and let it sit for 25 - 30 minutes. (If you are making half amount, the resting time can be 20 - 25 minutes.)
- Gently scoop with a serving spoon into individual bowls at the table. Enjoy with your choice of condiments.
Served with green onion, ground sesame seeds, ground dry chili, sea salt, and golden sesame oil.
- Soymilk must be the natural kind with no additives (i.e. it has to be made only from pure water and soy beans).
- Nigari, which is the byproduct of the sea salt, is the extract of the sea water. In the traditional tofu making in Japan, only nigari is used as the coagulator of tofu and said to help making better/ sweater taste of tofu. Nigari is considered to have many health benefits because of its rich mineral contents. Nigari liquid can be found at large Japanese grocery stores or some online specialty stores.
- Once the tofu is ready, serve immediately. Tofu will gradually separate from water and become firmer if you let it sit longer (then, you can strain and enjoy firmer tofu, too!).
About the measurements used in our recipes
- 1 rice-cup = 3/4 US cup = 180 ml
1 cup = 240 ml
1 inch (1") = 2.5 cm
1 ounce (1 oz) = 30 ml