Chef Vicky Lau of the Hong Kong's Tate Dining Room drives innovation for World Oceans Day by cooking sustainably. Co-hosted with the United Nations and in partnership with Oceanic Global and Ethic Ocean, this series showcases six R&C chefs' commitment to promoting ethical sea- and plant-based meals.
Soak the beans
1. Put the dried beans in a colander and rinse under tap water to remove any surface dirt. Add water to cover by 2 to 3 inches, then set aside to soak at room temperature. The soaking time varies by season.
2. Test the beans to determine their readiness. Squeeze one between your fingertips, and it should split apart into two long halves. The beans are sufficiently soaked if the surfaces of the halves are flat with an even buttercup yellow colour and if you can easily break one of the halves crosswise. Drain the soaked beans in a colander.
Render the soy milk
1. Set up your soy milk making equipment. For the straining station, put the smaller pot in the sink and place the colander inside it. Put the soy milk pressing cloth in the colander, letting its edges drape over the rim. Have your pressing tool nearby.
2. Put the larger pot on the stove. To kick-start the cooking process, heat 1200ml of water in the pot. Use high or medium-high heat. If the water comes to a boil before you’ve ground all the beans, lower the heat and cover the pot, raise heat once you’ve added the ground beans.
3. Meanwhile, use a blender to grind the soybeans with 2 cups of water. Run the blender on the highest speed for 1-2 minutes to yield a thick, smooth, ivory white puree-a beany milkshake. Add the mixture to the pot of water. If there are whole beans left at the bottom of the blender container, pause the pouring and run the blender for 30 seconds before adding it to a larger pot.
4. Cook the soybean mixture, stirring the bottom frequently with a wooden spatula to avoid scorching, until frothy foam forms and begin to rise, 3 to 6 minutes. This can suddenly sneak up on you, so monitor the pot. Look for a very thick layer of foam that resembles softly whipped egg whites. When you see the foam rise like a beer head, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the heat to prevent boiling over. Stir the pot a few times and wait for the foam to deflate a bit.
5. To strain out the milk, pour the hot mixture into the pressing cloth, pausing when the colander is full and waiting for the milk to pass through before adding more from the larger pot. Scrape out any soybeans remaining in the pot. Reveal the soy milk in the smaller pot.
Recook the soymilk
1. Soybean protein needs to be cooked for a certain amount of time to ensure that it is fully digestible and ready to be coagulated. Bring the smaller pot of soy milk to gentle simmer over medium-high or high heat, stirring the bottom frequently. After this second cooking, the soymilk is ready for tofu making.
Make Tofu Pudding
1. Choose a larger, tallish pot, such as deep 4-quart pot, to hold the finished tofu. In the pot, whisk together the gypsum and water to create a milky liquid. Position the pot somewhere low enough so you can pour the soy milk into it from about 12 inches above – on a chair seat or opened oven door.
2. When the soy milk reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat off. Whisk the coagulant because the solids tend to settle. Holding the saucepan about 12 inches above the pot, pour the hot soy milk into the coagulant; the gush of turbulence will mix the ingredients together. Cover immediately with a lid and move the pot if necessary. Let the tofu sit, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.
The tofu can be used once it has set. However, let it sit for another 30 minutes and the flavour will have developed further.