How to prepare tofu at home starting from organic soy beans: the traditional recipe

Tofu is one of the most loved and consumed vegetable protein sources by those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. But you know that it is possible to prepare it at home starting from two simple ingredients of the traditional recipe: soy beans and nigari


Tofu can be prepared at home according to the traditional recipe, which involves starting with the use of two basic ingredients: yellow soy beans and nigari (or magnesium chloride) which is considered the best rennet for preparation of tofu. Natural nigari, free of synthetic additions, consists of what remains after extracting the salt from seawater and is produced by drying in the sun.

The nigari can be purchased at a herbalist's shop, health food stores, pharmacies, or online. Yellow soy must be of organic origin and is readily available in natural products outlets that also deal with food.

With the following recipe you can get a stick of tofu of about 250 grams.



  • 250 grams of organic yellow soy
  • 2,5 liters of water + soybean soaking water
  • 7,5 grams of nigari
  • Kombu seaweed (you can find it here)


Proceed by rinsing the soy beans and placing them to soak in a bowl filled with water equal to at least triple their volume for 24 hours, together with a piece of kombu seaweed, remembering to replace the water at least once after 12 hours. At this point you will find that the soy beans will have increased in volume and will have assumed an oval shape. The addition of kombu seaweed will make the soy used for the preparation of tofu even more digestible. It can also be added in the home preparation process of soy milk, in order to enrich the resulting drink with calcium.

Preparation of soy milk from beans

Transfer the soy beans with 500 milliliters of water to a blender and pour the remaining 2 liters of water into a saucepan.

Blend the soy until it is reduced to a pulp and transfer it to the pot with the water.

Bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for about ten minutes.

Then turn off the heat and get ready to filter the liquid obtained.

Equip yourself with a large bowl and a colander. Cover the colander with a white cloth, possibly washed using vegetable soap, to prevent detergent residues from contaminating your preparation.

With a ladle, collect the solid part of the preparation, which is called okara and which can be used for example for the preparation of croquettes or as a filling for savory pies, transfer it to the colander and make sure to filter the liquid it holds as much as possible , helping you by pressing with a ladle or a wooden spoon.

Proceed in this way until you have filtered the entire contents of the pot. It is also possible to enclose the okara with the cloth in a bundle and help yourself by squeezing it with your hands. Collect the okara and place it in an airtight container, which you will close and transfer to the refrigerator when the soy pulp has cooled.

Preparation of the tofu

Pour the liquid in the bowl, which is nothing more than soy milk, into a pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent everything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Let it sit for a few minutes. If you have an immersion cooking thermometer, you can check that the temperature of the soy milk has reached 90 degrees before pouring the nigari into the pot, after having dissolved it briefly in a glass with lukewarm water. After adding the nigari, you will see the tofu flakes form in a short time.

They must be collected gently with the help of a ladle and transferred into a perforated plastic or wooden container (there are special ones for the preparation of tofu) which you will have covered with a cotton napkin with which you will completely wrap the dough. obtained, keeping it on the sink to drain for a few minutes before placing a weight on it so that the tofu can be pressed.

After at least 30 minutes, the tofu can be transferred to the refrigerator in a container with a lid filled with salted water. Tofu can be stored like this for up to a week. To obtain a larger loaf, the quantities indicated in this recipe can be doubled.

How to substitute nigari in tofu recipe?

The nigari can be replaced by 100 ml of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, by calculating to keep the amount of soy provided for this recipe as it is in this recipe, but halving the amount of water. Using lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as rennet will result in a tofu with a slightly softer and more crumbly consistency.

Now that you have self-produced your tofu you can go ahead and cook it according to your taste. Here are some recipes with tofu to inspire you:

  • Tofu and buckwheat salad
  • Scrambled tofu: the recipe for making it at home
  • Burmese tofu: how to make chickpea tofu
  • Gourmet tofu: 10 recipes to enjoy it at its best
  • Spinach and tofu meatballs, mon amour!

On tofu you might also be interested in:

Tofu: properties, calories and nutritional values

Other vegan foods to self-produce:

  • soya milk
  • yogurt soy
  • Instant Seitan
  • DIY Seitan
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