Tofu is not as popular in India as it is in China, Japan & Southeast Asia. It has thousands of years old history for using as food in China & Japan. But it was not a common food in India. A few years back, probably hardly very few people might know about this food in India. I also did not hear about this food during my childhood. But since last a few years, many people started consuming this food in India. But they need to buy this food only from a supermarket or big departmental store because you can not get it from any small local store. I think that you also bought tofu from the market and liked this food too. That is why you have landed on this page. But you want to know ‘how to make tofu from scratch at home?’ and ‘what all ingredients you need to make this at your kitchen?’
Am I Right??
I believe definitely your answer is “YES”
In India, some people call it as soy paneer or soybean paneer. Paneer means cottage cheese made from animal milk. I used to buy soy milk when I was in Mumbai. The taste of soy milk is different and you will get a strong flavor of soybeans. If you love soy chunks curry then you may like it. I loved it.
It is being now more than 5 years, I left Mumbai. But after that, I never drink soy milk. Here I Kolkata, I tried tofu for the first time. I bought it from Reliance fresh shop and made it. I liked tofu dishes but nobody in my family liked it. They prefer paneer over this tofu. So it never became a regular food item at our home. But still, I buy it after every two or three months.
I can still remember, a few years back, I prepared tofu lo mein, hmmm… two years back probably and everybody liked that dish in my family. But still, they said that it would be better if it would be prepared with paneer. I said it was a vegan dish, very nutritious and easy to digest. Huhhhh!!!
Okay, now coming to this soy milk making process.
Honestly speaking, I have never prepared soy milk or tofu at home and nobody in my family had no idea about this soy milk. But still, I have decided to make tofu at home and that to from soybeans. I already knew how it is prepared because I had a curiosity about soy milk when I started drinking this in Mumbai. So this was the time when I actually going to implement my knowledge to make soy milk at home.
So the first thing I need to buy soybeans from the market.
Where to buy dried soybeans for tofu?
I could not find soybeans in our local grocery stores. I asked for soybeans and they offered me soy chunks, haha. But finally, I visited a supermarket which is 1.5 km away from my home. I bought a 200 gm packet of soybeans for Rs 24. It was enough for my first trial because I can make around 2.5-litre soy milk from 200 gm soybeans.
So now I have raw materials to make soya milk (yes, in West Bengal it is said as soya milk like soya beans instead of soybeans) and then soya paneer which is tofu, my final product. So now I am all set to make tofu from scratch.
How to make soy milk at home?
I took around 160 gm of soybeans and wash under running water and soak it in water for overnight (approx 8 hours) in a large bowl
Then drain the water and gently rub soybean with your hands so its skin/peels will get removed. Now fill the bowl with water and all separated skins/peels will float on the top. You can easily discard it by drain out water.
Now take all soybeans in a jar of the grinder and add a half cup of water and grind to make a smooth puree
Then take half of that puree in a bigger jar and add 4 cups of water and mix then collect in a large pot, do the same with the rest part of smooth puree
Boil it with low to medium flame for 1-12 minutes and stir after every 20-30 seconds otherwise, soybeans particles will get burnt at the bottom of the pot.
Now you have all raw milk along with soybeans particles, so you need to strain it by using a clean cloth (better use a cheese cloth). Before doing so, allow it to drop its temperature and then strain it and collect wonderful & very nutritious soy milk
How to make tofu from soy milk at home?
Once you have soy milk then the rest process very very simple. You need to boil it again and once it starts boiling then switch off the fire and add coagulant (I prefer easily available Calcium Lactate or lemon juice). Calcium lactate is easily available here in our locality. If it is not available then you can use lemon juice (approx. 50 ml per litre or even more).
Once coagulation is done then you can see the water is separated and raw unpressed tofu is floating on the water
Now strain it through a cheese cloth and drain the water. Collect raw tofu and try to drain out water as much as possible.
You can use a tofu make/cheese making utensil for pressing tofu but I used that cloth and put a weight (use anything which is atleast 2-3kg in weight) on the top of the tofu to press it. Keep the weight on it for 15 minutes and then your tofu is ready
What is the by-product of the tofu/soy milk making process?
The by-product of soy milk making process is soy pulp (or okara). You can use it to make soya chunks or you can dry it keeping it under the sun for 6-7 hours and make soy flour.
Soy pulp can be used to make healthy pakoda or do a lot of experiments with this soy pulp to make various delicious dishes at home.
Homemade tofu recipe
- 160 gm soybeans
- 8 cups water + extra for soaking
- Coagulant for making tofu as needed (Calcium lactose/lemon juice)
- Wash 160 gm soybeans under running water and soak it in water for overnight (approx 8 hours) in a large bowl
- Now drain the water and gently rub soybean with your hands so that its skin/peel will get removed. Now all separated skins/peels will float on the top once you fill the bowl with water. Remove those peels & extra water
- Then take all soybeans in a jar of grinder and add half cup of water and grind to make smooth puree
- Now take half of that smooth puree in a bigger jar and add 4 cups of water and mix, now collect in large pot, next do the same with rest part of smooth puree
- Boil it with low to medium flame for 1-12 minutes and stir frequently
- Then once it reaches room temperature, strain it by using a clean cloth (better use a cheese cloth)
- Again boil soy milk and once it starts boiling then switch off flame and add coagulant (Calcium lactose or lemon juice or any other available coagulant) and wait till water will be separated and raw tofu will float
- Now strain it and collect raw tofu
- Keep it under pressure within a cheese cloth (or any other suitable clean cloth), you can use any weight on the top to press it
- Now put the weight for atleast 15 minutes then your tofu will be ready