|We asked my grandma to prepare two very ordinary Chinese dishes, both using the most popular staple in the Oriental diet, namely soybeans.
||Soybeans have many disguised appearances; but of one thing you can be sure, they least often look like beans, except as a snack.
|Grandma's Tofu Making Process
- Grandma purchased the soybeans by the bushel from local farmers.
- Grandpa would clean the beans of debris, such as corn, sand, gravel, and bugs.
- Grandma then soaked the beans overnight.
- The following day she used a blender to liquidate them after adding the proper amount of water, so the output is like a medium thick soup.
- Grandma heated the liquid to almost boiling. After ten minutes, the most crucial step took place.
- Grandma added to the soy liquid a measured liquid consisting of Plaster of Paris powder mixed in water. Yes, the Plaster of Paris is the same as what one uses to make sculptures. BUT, the Plaster of Paris must be laboratory tested so that the toxic content is below the FDA safety standard. She obtained this plaster from a chemistry laboratory and a chemistry professor tested the purity for her. Grandma gently stirred the Plaster of Paris mix into the soy liquid.
- After a certain time (you must be patient and check from time to time), the liquid solidified into a jelly-like substance. If not enough Plaster of Paris was used, the jelly would be too soft to press. In that case, we called them "soy bean flowers" and ate them as soup by adding either sweet or salty garnishings.
- Grandma scooped the jelly into a mold made by her son. The mold was wrapped on all sides by a cheesecloth. She then put a flat wood block over the floating juice and some medium heavy weights (such as a big pot of water) over the wood plate.
- The next day she drained off the liquid and a big chunk of tofu appeared. (The hardness of tofu is proportional to the amount of Plaster of Paris used.)
- Grandma then cut the large chunk of finished tofu into small-sized blocks used for cooking.
- Note that grandma was very versatile and adaptive in her tofu-making process. For example, if the Plaster of Paris mixture was not sufficient, then the tofu would be too soft so she would turn it into something else. If the Plaster of Paris mixture was too much, then the tofu was not soft enough, and she turned it into another form.
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