Saturday, July 7, 2007


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Slices of Sundried Tomato/Garlic/Basil/Artichoke Gourmet Tofu drizzled with a peppery extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

I hope I won't bore you with my tofu adventures! Since I tried making the fresh sage, leek, and dried wild mushroom tofu two blog posts ago, I have talked to various other cooks about it, and wanted to try it with dried porcini mushrooms not soaked beforehand, so that the mushroom taste was more concentrated than in my first version (I soaked them the first time, then chopped them and added them to the soymilk). The originators of this recipe, on the wishwewerebaking blog, did not soak them first, but they used dried champignon mushrooms, which are not as strong as porcinis. Another friend used them without soaking, but did not specify the type she used-- she thought the results "screamed" mushroom on the first bite!

So, I had to try it myself. I also wanted to try adding the chopped leeks and sage raw, without sauteing, as I had done before. I figured that this would save time and effort, and that the leeks would cook in the hot soymilk, anyway.

NOTE: There are explicit directions for making tofu, written by my friend Brenda Wiley, at this link. Just follow those directions, with my additions below. If you don't want to make your own soymilk, and you have access to fresh unflavored soymilk , you can use that instead. But make sure it is fresh and unflavored!

To the two soymilk maker batches (3 hot, fresh unflavored soymilk this time I added:

about 7/8 cup dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled, so that the pieces wouldn't be too large
3 cups chopped leeks
18 fresh sage leaves
(I chopped the leeks and sage more finely in the food processor)

I added these to the hot fresh soymilk in a large pot BEFORE adding the coagulant, let it come up to over 180 degrees F, and added the coagulant (2 tsp. nigari powder dissolved in 1 cup boiling water) slowly, covered the pot and let it sit 10 minutes. Then I stirred gently again and began ladling out the curds as instructed.
(See that last blog post for pictures of the process, and some of the ways I used the results.)

BTW: I made this batch with 1 Tbs. (3 packets) nigari powder for coagulant, but I think I will use only 2 tsp. (2 packets) again next time. The extra nigari made the curds smaller, and I don't think that makes as nice a tofu.

Version #2 of the Mushroom/Leek/Sage Tofu

I thought the tofu was good, the mushroom flavor stronger in a subtle way, but I think I would saute the leeks and sage again next time. I think the leek and sage flavor came through better with the sauteed version, and the leeks did not "crunch".

We just had some for a snack with real tamari (the liquid that drains off miso) from our local miso maker-- a treat!


I made this early last week, just 1 block using 1 batch (1 1/2 qts.) soymilk. I added (for 1 1/2 qts.) :

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil (I rinsed the oil off with hot water and chopped them small after measuring)
1/2 cup marinated sliced artichoke hearts (also rinsed and then chopped pretty finely after measuring)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil (didn't have any fresh-- if you do, use 2 Tbs. chopped)

One thing I noticed was that the acid from the tomatoes (and any residual marinade on the artichokes, I guess) started curdling the soymilk before I even added the coagulator. But I added it anyway. I also noticed that the curds were smaller as a result. The tofu was a bit fragile from all the stuf I loaded into it, but tasted great! I might cut the tomatoes and artichokes down to 1/3 cup each next time.

We ate this cold drizzled with a very peppery extra-virgin olive oil and just a dash of balsamic vinegar. Yum...

As I mentioned before, I did not store the tofu in water, as I don't want to destroy the flavor, and we ate it all up within a day or two. I just placed it in the fridge on a plate, covered with plastic wrap.



Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna!
No, these tofu recipes definitely are not boring! I have never made my own soymilk but want to try these recipes once I can find some unflavored soymilk. Thanks for sharing and keep them coming! :)

Kate said...

Amazing, I have never heard of a tofu recipe like this!

David T. Macknet said...

I wonder if you could use the unsweetened variety of the Silk brand soymilk.

I also wonder if it was the tomatoes which affected your curd size, or was it, perhaps, a difference in the amount of coagulant? Was the density different, as well, or just the texture?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

davimack-- you probably could use any unsweetened soymilk. I didn't use the larger amount of cocgulant with the tomato tofu-- I used my regular amount. But I think the acid in the tomatoes did make the curds smaller. It was pretty dense, but there was so much other stuff in there that I think that made it fragile.

With the second batch of leek/mushroom tofu, in hindsight, perhaps the raw leeks added more acidity; I'm not sure.

David T. Macknet said...

We've just made a batch with dried tomatoes, and they started coagulating pretty much within a couple of minutes of adding them. So, I'm guessing that ours is going to end up with a finer curd, as yours did.

I wonder at this - particularly, I wonder if maybe adding the coagulant in stages would result in a finer curd, as that's what we're doing when we add an acid & then topping up the process with the other coagulant ... or, at least that's what it seems like. Maybe it's something enzymatic going on?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Yes, that might work better-- I think it's simply the acid in the tomatoes. Dried tomatoes are pretty concentrated, so there must be quite a bit of acid in there! Keep me posted!

Anonymous said...

As much as I loved the savory flavor of the leek/mushroom/sage version, this one is flat out my favorite!! And I really liked that you gave directions using just one batch of soymilk ... made the whole process so very quick and easy!! I had warm gourmet sundried tomato/artichoke heart tofu in about 45 minutes after starting!! Using that amount of soymilk also was kept the total yield much smaller, so it won't go bad before it gets eaten up!!

I used epsom salts for the coagulation, and needed only the smallest amount. I dissolved one tablespoon in 1/3 cup of boiling water, but only used ONE TABLESPOON of that liquid mixture for one batch of soymilk.

Kitti said...

is that Epsom salts - as in the kind you use to soak in a bath?
do you think its possible to make soy cheese in a similar process?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Kitti! yes, those same Epsom salts, otherwise known as Magnesium sulfate (or sulphate).

Many have tried making soy cheese this way, but it does not ripen in the same way that dairy curds do-- the protein is different, too.

However, I'm not saying it is impossible, but it would take some serious work and inovation. If I ever have some time.......

Sunshinemom said...

I have been trying to get the coagulant you mentioned but it doesn't seem to be available in India:(, so its still store bought tofu for me! This recipe looks good!

Anonymous said...

Hey, if you're ever out of epsom salts, I've had great success if you 16oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice as a coagulant. Just bring up your soy milk to 180 degrees, add the lemon juice--DON'T STIR--maintain 180 degrees for 10 minutes--NO HIGHER--turn off heat, let cool, ladle curd into press box or whatever your using, heavily weight for 24 hours. You don't get the amber colored weigh, but you get a very firm tofu with a somewhat silken texture. Moreover, it has a very bright taste, way less boring that if you use Epsom Salt or any of the other chemical coagulants.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks so much for posting that, Evan! How much soymilk would that 16 oz. of lemon juice curdle?

Carole Nowicke said...

Artichokes/cardoon extract can be used as a coagulant in cheese--perhaps that also work with tofu?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Carole, as far as I know the artichoke (actually it is a type of thistle-- and artichoke is a thistle) extract will not react with soy protein in the same way as with milk protein.