The Whole Bean
A soybean cooking class
with Holly Davis


The Whole Bean

Fast forward to April and we had Holly Davis over to teach us about maximising the utility of the humble soybean.

“The first time I made tofu, back in about 1983, I was ruined for anything else. Made from properly prepared organic Australian soy beans it is an absolute delight. Eaten with a ferment or two or fermented itself, it can be a very valid and delicious choice. The beauty of making your own is that you can create five useful products as once!

When you take the whole bean and make soy milk, you will get okara (the ground bean) as a by-product. It can be formed into patties or stir-fried. When the soy milk is gently heated, if not stirred, it forms a definite skin on the surface. This can be lifted and dried to become yuba. If a coagulant is added to gently heated soymilk, the first curds provide the most delightful opportunity for eating oboro – tofu clouds in a broth. When this cloudy liquid is strained into a vessel which drains out the whey you are left with the curds which become firm or soft tofu. The texture depends on how much coagulant has been used and how firmly they are pressed and for how long.”

Amongst the many things that we made in the class, there was oden, a traditional winter street food which relies on a delicious broth in which many different ingredients may be cooked. Tofu pockets are stuffed with a fried mixture of shirataki noodles and grated vegetables like lotus root, daikon, and burdock. Other extras such as chicken thighs, white-fleshed fish, or fresh tofu fried in sesame oil can also be added to the broth.

We also tasted tofu that had been pressed gently, and like Holly says, “It is nothing like store-bought.”