All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Zarudofu / tofu in zaru basket

Fresh tofu made at home.


(for volume equivalent to 2 tofu packs)

400 cc (300 g) soybeans
1 tbsp nigari
2,300 cc water (total amount used after rehydrating soybeans to obtain soy milk; not in photo)
100 cc water (for diluting nigari, not in photo)


Soak soybeans in 1,200-1,500 cc (at least three times soybean volume) of water overnight (summer) to 24 hours (winter).



From here on, check how much water will be added to soybeans. In total, 2,300 cc should be added by the time you cook ground soybeans to get soy milk.

Work in two batches. Put soybeans and some water in food processor.
Grind rehydrated soybeans.

Transfer ground soybeans to a tall stockpot.

Rinse off bean paste in food processor into the pot (subtract the amount of water used for rinsing from the 2,300 cc).

Add remaining amount of water.


Cook on medium high heat until soybean mixture starts to get hot, while stirring with spatula and going over the bottom of pot to prevent burning.

Reduce heat when soybean mixture starts to steam (mixture easily overflows the pot once reaching boiling temperature; quickly remove from heat if this starts to happen.)

Keep cooking for 10 minutes after soybean mixture reaches boiling temperature, occasionally stirring gently.


Strain through a cloth (cool as necessary to prevent burning yourself).

The liquid is tonyu soy milk, and solids in the cloth are okara pulp.

(Okara transferred to a container)


Heat soy milk to 160-165 F (70-75 C) on low heat.


In the meantime, mix nigari into 100cc water, and heat for 30 seconds in microwave.


When soy milk reaches 160-165 F (70-75 C), add half of nigari mixture, quietly stir with spatula in crisscross motion, add remaining nigari mixture, and stir again.

Cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

(After 10 minutes)


Line zaru basket with a cloth, and place basket over bowl. Scoop the solids into basket.

Drain liquid pooling in bowl underneath as necessary.

Let sit and allow liquid to drain to achieve desired firmness of tofu.

Serve with condiments (thinly sliced green onion, grated ginger and kanzuri along with soy sauce in photo).

  • With this recipe, you will get approx. 2,400 cc of tonyu soy milk and 400 g of okara pulp. The soy milk is mildly sweet; it is worth saving some to drink or use in cooking.
  • Adjust the amount of water according to how rich you want the tofu to be (less water for richer taste).
  • You can make momendofu (firm tofu) by putting this in a mold and placing a weight on top.
  • Any strainer or container with holes can substitute for the zaru basket.
  • Process 3 (cooking ground soybeans) takes time. To speed up the process, boil water first then add to soybean mixture.
  • If keeping track of the amount of water added to soybeans is too bothersome, first measure and set aside 2,300 cc water in a container (or a pot, heating to speed up the process), and add that water to soybeans.
  • Cook soybean mixture at least 8 minutes after it reaches boiling temperature in order to extract enough protein from soybeans to set tofu.
  • Nigari comes in liquid and powder forms, and at least one form is usually available at Japanese grocery stores.

(Last updated: February 2, 2014)

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