Well in a land far, far away, there grows the very rare and magical tofu tree. Its location is unknown to most except a select few…
Just kidding, that is not where tofu comes from. Tofu is a soy bean derived product that has been around for centuries. It starts life as a soy bean and is socked heated, collagenated and pressed before being cut to create the tofu you know today. Tofu has many forms, from puffy tofu, silken, soft, firm and Tofoo’s speciality extra firm. All with their own methods of creation and use.
If we go way back to the beginning, the first recorded use of tofu was during the Chinese Han dynasty over 2,000 years ago. Its official provenance is still contested and there’s even rumours it was discovered by a Chinese prince whereas other sources say it was created accidently (all the best things were, penicillin, the Slinky) when boiled soy beans were mixed with unfiltered sea water.
Since then tofu has become a staple in many east Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Japan. Depending on where you are in these regions the kind of tofu available will vary.
This is where Tofoo’s tofu journey starts. Our tofu is created in the heart of Yorkshire using beans sourced mostly from Canada. Our beans are always sustainably sourced and never come from areas where deforestation is an issue. We also make sure all our beans are 100% organic, GM-free and have a higher protein content!
We follow a traditional top secret Japanese recipe to create our extra firm tofu (sorry, we are just not ready to give this up yet!), though the method to creating Tofoo is fairly simple and requires only 3 natural ingredients: water, soy beans and nigari.
To begin the tofu-making process the soy beans are first soaked for at least 24 hours. After this they are ‘blended’ with water and the soy milk is separated from the pulp. This soy milk is then heated and mixed with the nigari (a natural extract made from sea water) and left to sit which separates the curds and whey (just like Little Miss Muffet!). The curds are then removed and pressed to remove any extra water before cutting into Tofoo sized blocks. We make each of our Tofoo blocks by hand so you’ll often find they’re not a perfect tofu square like you might expect- though we think a little bit of wonkiness adds quite a lot of character!
To read more about Tofoo’s tofu journey and how we go from a little soy bean to some scrumptious tofu, click here to read our Bean to Block story.