They are the things you need to make tofu. I use plastic containers made by Ziploc. I poked small holes in them and cut the lids smaller than the openings of containers so they could fit inside.
Cut a cheese cloth or muslin into long strips big enough to cover the bottom and sides of the containers. You need 4. You can use a sieve and a handkerchief if you want.
Note: I make 2 blocks of thin tofu. If you want to make a thick one, use one container and 2 pieces of cloth.
Mix the nigari and water.
Moisten the cloths and line the containers tightly, overlapping 2 cloths crosswise.
Warm the soy milk in a pan to 170°F/75°C. If you don't have a thermometer, just bring to the boil and continue to warm for 3 to 5 minutes.
When you put your finger in the heated milk, it'll be very hot and you'll want to pull out your finger immediately. This is around 170°F/75°C.
Divide the nigari into 3 portions and drizzle into the pot gradually. Stir very gently and constantly, like you're moving the mixture towards the middle of the pan.
Note: Do not add the nigari in one go. Add it little by little. Stir gently or it will not set.
In this photo, it might be hard to see but the mixture has started to separate. You will have translucent liquid and softly-set tofu.
If the mixture doesn't separate, add more nigari or increase the heat a little.
Note: Too much nigari and heat will result in hard tofu.
When the separation is finished, ladle the set tofu with a slotted spoon into the prepared container.
If you divide the tofu into two, you will thinner tofu with a thickness of 2 cm. If you want to have thicker tofu, just use one container.
Cover the tofu with the excess cloths hanging over the sides of containers. Cover with the lid and put a weight over the tofu. I used beer cans in this photo. You can use a glass of water instead.
Leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes, adjusting the weight and time to obtain the firmness of tofu that is to your liking. 15 minutes is how I like mine.
Remove the weight and peel off the cloth to check the firmness. Or you can taste with a little bit of tofu.
Cover a big bowl with water and place the tofu set in containers. Remove the containers in water.
Remove the cloths from the tofu and soak in water for a while to remove bitterness of nigari. Handle with care because it is fragile.
This is the tofu that you'll end up with! It doesn't look perfect, but it's still just as tasty as anything you can get in Japanese grocery stores. If you use colanders instead of plastic containers, you will have zaru (colander) tofu.
I made chilled tofu (Hiya-yakko). Weigh it down with a can of beer for 15 minutes, and you will have very soft-set tofu. If you use this soft tofu for cooking, it might be too hard to handle.
Story Behind this Recipe
Since I make soy pulp at home, I always have soy milk around as well. This is a great way of using it all up.
According to your plans with the tofu, adjust the weight and time to create its firmness to your liking. You will have creamier tofu than shop-bought ones.