Chickpea Tofu Recipe and Other Variations
The other day I tried making chickpea tofu. Usual tofu is made from soy milk, but to coagulate it it requires a bittern salt (Magnesium Chloride) for the proteins to bind. As the name suggests, it is bitter in flavour (Even in Japanese – Nigari).
Checkpea tofu can harden without this. Supposedly the texture is similar so this can be made anywhere in the world!
- 1 cup dry checkpea (not canned)
- 2 cups water (For consistency of a flan)
- muslin/cheese cloth
- Soak the checkpeas in plenty of water for atleast 8 hours.
- Drain the water, then put it in the blender
- Add 2 cups of water and blend it
- Separate out the liquid and the solids using a muslin cloth. Line the pot with the cloth, pour the chickpea blend in, and hand squeeze the bundle to extract the liquid. We only use the liquid in this recipe.
- Heat up the pot on medium heat. It is important to stir it continuously, as the liquid will quickly build up solids at the bottom.
- Once it starts thickening, put it on low heat. Continue to stir it, as you'll get lumps and uneven texture. Once it is custard thick, it is ready
- Pour it into a container and cool it for 30mins. Once it solidifies it is ready
Well, the mouth feel is definitely tofu, and if you like tofu, this is a great alternative. Flavour wise? I always thought this with normal tofu as well, but it tastes
bland. It tastes like pureed checkpea gruel that hospitals will use to give nutrients to old patients. Adding flavour like tsuyu or soy sauce made it better, but I think there should've been some flavour inside the tofu.
When I made this chickpea tofu, I wanted to test several variations of the recipe to see if it works. These were:
- Softer tofu – mix in 50% more hot water
- Savoury tofu – Mix some stock flavour and salt
- Pudding tofu – Mix sugar, a bit of milk, and a dash of lemon
So I prepared 3 small containers to try this out. I tasted each one before the shape set so I could adjust anything before it set. Here are the results:
- Softer tofu – Yes! It actually still kept shape. I quite like this one as it was a lot more delicate in texture. In the above recipe, this will mean adding 3 cups of water instead of 2 wouldn't be a problem. Alternatively, adding extra ingredients afterwards shouldn't prevent the tofu from solidifying.
- Savoury tofu – I liked this version better than the plain tofu. I wish I had sesami paste in hand to try recreate a popular sesami tofu dish. Other variations like abalone tofu also use the same principle of grinding the ingredient into a paste and mixing it.
- Pudding tofu – Probably my favourite dish. The lemon didn't interfere with the solidifying, which means there are a lot of possibilities with this one. Chocolate and nut based flavours should go well too.
What to do with the leftover checkpea pulp?
In Japanese these are called okara, used for cheap, low calorie, high fiber creative recipes. It may not be the same with chickpea, but I would believe the milk extraction has increased the fiber content. Anyway, if you want to shine your poverty pantery skills, I suggest you try get creative with it. Keep in mind this leftover pulp's properties mean less binding and any dough you make will be wet, crumbly, and possibly dense without the addition of other ingredients. Here are some ideas:
- Falafel – Mix some self raising flour (of plain flour + baking powder) to bind the mixture. Add stock, spice or herbs, and lemon for flavour.
- Okara cookie – Pulp (g): Butter (g): Sugar (g): Egg ratio of 4:2:1:1. Dry the pulp by spreading in out on an oven tray and heating it at 150C for 15 mins, then cool it for another 5 mins. Loosen up any chunks with your hands. Mix the ingredients, cut into 0.5-1cm thick cookies and bake at 180 degrees C for 20 mins.
- Curry? I really don't know how this would work out