Like my Edamame babies? Harvested and dried, Edamame beans become Soy beans.
Over here in Britain, I hear some people say Tofu is highly processed and is not good for you. Some say Tofu is very bland and boring.
But have they ever tasted the real thing?
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk.
It starts with the soy beans. First, beans are soaked in water and the beans are then crushed and heated to separate the solids from the milk. The warm soy milk is then slowly hand-stirred while nigari (coagulants, a salt derivative of seawater) is added to form the curds. When the curds reaches to the right point, they are poured into a mold lined with thin cloth.
When the pressing is complete, the tofu is submerged in a bath of cold water to finish setting up.
The amount of nigari used will determine the firmness of the tofu. Fresh tofu is usually sold completely immersed in water to maintain its moisture content. It is like Mozzarella cheese. Does this sound over-processed?
Tofu makers are just like bakers. They would get up very early in the morning and make fresh Tofu to sell for the day. In old days, people used to shop with large bowl to buy Tofu in water.
Once the tofu is cooled, you can have it immediately. My son had fresh Tofu first time in Japan a few years ago and absolutely loved it. A bit of spring onion, grated ginger and a few drops of soy sauce is all you need.
There is an interesting show on channel 4 in Britain called “Jamie’s super food”. In the third episode, James Oliver is visiting Japan to see how Tofu is made. It is informative and fun to watch. You can see a clip here.
How we wish we could get fresh Tofu.
Not as fresh as the one Jamie had, but we can get Tofu in water at a Asian supermarket. This is where we shop sometimes.
Jamie was making Tofu burger inspired by his trip. I make my version of Tofu burger at home.
Unlike Jamie’s, mine has a bit of minced meat. It is easier to shape into patties if you add a bit of meat as binding ingredient. But you can still cut down on the amount of meat considerably.
Tofu Burger：serves 4
200g: firm tofu
300g: minced pork
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
pinch salt and pepper
Proportion of tofu and pork is up to you. You can also use minced chicken or turkey.
Basically, you mix all ingredients together and make it into patties. But one important thing is, you want to extract excess water from tofu before you add it to the mixture, otherwise your burger gets too soggy. Many tofu burger recipes do not tell you this, but I think it is essential.
Jamie was wrapping tofu in a clean cloth and squeezing water out. I guess it is one way to do it, but it is not a common practice in Japan. We either boil, microwave or wrap it with paper towel, place a weight, a tin of beans for example and leave it for 30 mins or so.
I wouldn’t BBQ, since patties are a little too soft to go onto a griddle.
At the last minutes of cooking, I usually pour teriyaki sauce made with soy sauce and mirin wine. We like teriyaki burgers.
For a long time, I didn’t know Edamame and soy beans were the same beans. How embarrassing!
We call soy beans “meat of the fields”. Soy beans have been a very important part of our diet and culture. I hope many people understand the goodness of it and enjoy soy products more often.