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Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade Tofu - 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #41 Elizabeth Andoh

Homemade Tofu
the "Gourmet" prompt...
41. Elizabeth Andoh- As Barbara Tropp was to Chinese food, so is Andoh to Japanese, with specialties in—who knew?—Japanese vegetarian, and the almost equally obscure home cooking.

One of my absolute favorite things about food, cooking, and eating has always been the link to people, culture, and tradition.  It's the ability to get to know someone...some place...through the plate they offer you.  They plate they share with you.  Food.  Although there are countless dialects, it really is the universal language.

Elizabeth Andoh shares this belief.  Though she was raised in a family of doctors, at her University of Michigan advisor's recommendation, she applied for a post-graduate fellowship in Japan.  So began her Japanese language studies.  With a meal in Shikoku, Japan in 1967.  This is also where she met her husband, by the way.  She used her training to start discovering Japan through its food.  And she was hooked.  She enrolled at the Anahihara Kinsarya School of Classical Japanese Cuisine in Tokyo soon after.  Emphasizing what I started out with, Andoh believes lauds "the stomach as the way to the heart of a culture" because "everybody gets hungry".
Homemade Tofu
Andoh was Gourmet magazine's Japan correspondent for over 30 years. She also teaches courses in English at the Japanese cooking school that she opened back in the 70's, A Taste of Culture, which has teaching facilities in both Tokyo and Osaka. She writes her beautiful, informative cookbooks from a home with a view of Mount Fuji. Dreamy. Sigh...

Her recently released cookbook entitled KIBŌ (Brimming with Hope): Recipes & Stories from Japan’s Tohoku is a culinary tribute to Japan's Tohoku filled with recipes and stories to comfort and share. Both Andoh and publisher Ten Speed Press are donating 50 percent of their profits from the book to GlobalGiving's Japan earthquake and tsunami relief and recovery efforts which was launched with the goal of creating jobs in the area devastated by the disaster and developing a new generation of business leaders in Japan.

While there are many traditional dishes I wanted to make, I couldn't get the idea of making homemade tofu out of my head once I saw the (super simple) recipe.  Basically, it's just like making fresh cheese.  Like, exactly.  This soft version actually has a bit of flavor to it, as well.  Tofu flavor.  But flavor none the less.  My next experiment will include increasing the nigari and pressing longer to make a firmer version.
making homemade tofu

Homemade Tofu
Use quality soy milk and nigari to make tofu from scratch.
Print Friendly and PDF
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Keywords: vegan soy Japanese

Ingredients (approximately 9 ounces)
  • 6 cups soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons nigari diluted wtih 2 tablespoons water
Pour soy milk into a deep, straight-sided pot and place over medium-low heat to prevent scorching as the soy milk gradually heats. Heat to 150° F and then remove from heat.

Using a flat spatula, stir the soy milk a few times in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Drizzle teh nigari mixture over the flat surface of the spatula, aiming so that it drips into the center of the whirlpool. Stir gently once or twice counterclockwise to stop swirling and remove spatula.

Cover the pot tightly and let sit for about 10 minutes. If milk has thickened, it is ready. If not, heat it very gently and cover. Remove from heat and let sit another 5 minutes.

Line a press, mold, or strainer with a finely woven cloth (or cheesecloth) and set over a bowl or dish. Gently scoop the curds into the lined strainer.

To serve warm, allow the soft curds to drain for only a minute. Serve with condiments.

To serve chilled, slide the wrapped tofu still in strainer into the fridge for at least an hour. If you want a firmer texture, place a small weight (~8 ounces) on top of press or cloth. Refrigerate for a few hours.

-slightly adapted from Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions by Elizabeth Andoh
Homemade Tofu
"There's no way to escape finding out about people if you know what they eat, how they eat it and who they eat it with." ...Elizabeth Andoh

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?

SFGate: FIVE QUESTIONS ... For Elizabeth Andoh
A Taste of Culture