Japanese Recipes

Tofu Recipe – How To Make Fresh Momen Tofu

October 25, 2010 7 Comments

Photo: Lumiere Photographie

Tofu is a super healthy form of protein that is low in fat, low in calories and when eaten the same day it’s made, tastes unbelievably good. Freshly made tofu will tempt even the most staunch meat eater to start eating more vegetarian.

Tofu is really simple to make but does require a little patience and a watchful eye. Try the Chef’s Armoury recipe for making momen or cotton tofu, which is commonly used for simmered dishes and agedashi tofu.

Makes: 4-6 serves
Preparation time: about 1 hour, plus soaking time overnight
Cooking time: 15 mins



  • Blender or food processor
  • The biggest pot you can find
  • Tofu press / tofu mould
  • Straining cloth (this comes with the Chef’s Armoury tofu press)
  • A weight – something like a 700ml bottle
  • Slotted spoon or strainer
  • Large container of cold water for cooling


  • 300g dried soybeans – organic is best
  • 3L water, plus some extra for soaking
  • 9g nigari (magnesium chloride) dissolved in 200ml of cold water

Photos: Lumiere Photographie



1.   Soak soybeans overnight in plenty of water.

2.   Next day drain beans and throw away any discoloured or undesirable ones.

3.   Boil 3L of water and put about 800ml of it in a blender with the soybeans and grind well until it becomes a smooth slurry. Depending on your blender you may have to do this in batches or add more water.

4.   Put the slurry and remaining hot water in a very large pot and bring to a light boil. You need to cook it for about 10-15 minutes or until the foam starts to dissipate.

WARNING: When the soymilk starts to boil over add a small amount of cold water to prevent it from getting out of hand. Do not walk away from the pot as it needs to be closely supervised. Keep a big spoon on hand to stir down the foam and be prepared to turn off the heat quickly if needed.

5.   Strain the soymilk through the cotton straining bag included in the tofu press. Muslin is a little coarse so if this is all you have then use 4 layers. Carefully squeeze out all the milk or let it drip for an hour or so. The remaining solids are called okara and are used in many Japanese recipes. You can also dry this out and use it as a flour substitute in muffins etc.

Now it is time to make the curds

6.   Line your tofu mould with the cotton strips provided in a cross formation.

7.   Heat your soymilk to about 80°C and turn off heat.

8.   Stir until you have made a small whirlpool. Scatter one third of the nigari solution over the whirlpool and gently stir in. Wait one minute.

9.   Now sprinkle another third of the solution over the soymilk and cover for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the last third of the solution over the soymilk and cover for a further 15 to 20 minutes.

10.   At this stage you should have a clear separation of curds (white solids) and whey (yellow liquid). Ladle off most of the whey and then use a slotted spoon or small strainer to transfer the curds to the tofu mould.

tofu making

Transferring curds to tofu mould

Photos: Lumiere Photographie

11.   Spread the curds evenly in the mould and then fold the cotton flaps over the tofu. Put the lid on and press with an 800g weighted jar or bottle.

12.   Let press for about 20 minutes.

13.   Take the lid off the mould and remove the mould. Transfer the tofu to a container of cold water while still in the cloth and let cool for about 10 minutes.

You can now unwrap and enjoy your freshly made tofu.

Freshly made momen tofu

Freshly made momen tofu

Photos: Lumiere Photographie


Chefs tips

  • If you are eating your tofu today, leave wrapped in cotton until ready to serve.
  • To keep tofu longer, unwrap and store refrigerated in a container full of water. Change water daily and use within a week.
  • For less firm tofu, simply press for a less amount of time. For firmer tofu press for longer.
  • Tofu is traditionally enjoyed simply with good quality shoyu and fresh ginger paste.


If you’ve never eaten fresh tofu before, try this simple recipe at home.

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rawan January 24, 2011 at 3:35 am

Thanks for the recipes but is there something else TO make tofu than nigari i think we do not have it in Israel

Thanks again

Chef's Armoury January 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Hi Rawan, if you look for calcium sulphate it should do the trick. The difference is that it will set a little slower.

rawan February 8, 2011 at 7:50 am

thanks Steph i will look for it .

O-zone Blog May 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

[…] Tosa Shoyu Soy sauce, and attempted to make my own Momen Tofu for the first time.  I followed the Chefs Armoury Tofu Recipe, and it really was easy


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