Now I know what you’re thinking. This recipe seems fiddly and rather complicated and whilst I admit it’s not a dish you’d whip up for a midweek lunch or dinner, I think part of its pleasure lies in its unhurried preparation. Oh and planning an occasion to test it out.
A Gathering perhaps with friends in the garden at the weekend. Once I’m back in my kitchen and not cooking over a one-burner stove camping style (earthquake repairs continue) I’m definitely going to try this out.
Giulio Sturla, the Lyttelton chef / owner of Roots has kindly given us this recipe to try. He is a true gatherer in every sense and not only of the culinary kind. Anyone wandering into his restaurant will see materials he has gathered or uncovered being used or displayed in innovative and resourceful ways.
Ingredients for Tofu:
170g soy beans (NZ grown)
Water for soaking
1 litre water
1.5 tsp calcium sulphate
Soak the soy beans overnight. Strain the water the next day and put the beans in a blender with 500 ml of water. Blend until you have an homogeneous paste. Add 250 ml of water to a big pot. Bring the water to the boil then add the soy bean puree. With the remaining 250 ml of water wash up the blender and mix that it all into the pot so you get every last bit.
Simmer this mixture for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid burning the paste, then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth. Let the milk go through, pressing the muslin to extract most of it (be careful with your hands, it could be hot). Heat this milk again to cook for another 5 min to make the protein of the soy beans more digestible. Now you have soy milk ready to drink or to make silken tofu.
When the milk cools down, measure 700 – 750g for the tofu. Dissolve the calcium sulphate with 2 tsp of water then add the soy milk and mix thoroughly. Prepare containers to make the tofu. You can make single portions in ramekins or in a tray with 3 cm depth.
You will need to prepare a bain-marie container big enough to sit the ramekins in. Place these ramekins with the milk into the simmering bain-marie water and cover with a lid but allow for the steam to escape to avoid dripping into the containers. After 5 min the milk starts to solidify, and it is now ready. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and let them cool down. Now they are ready to eat.
100g fresh crab meat
Honey vinaigrette (1 part honey, 1 part olive oil, 1 part apple vinegar, salt to taste)
Young broad beans
Coriander leaves and flowers
Mix all the ingredients and arrange them over the cool silken tofu, decorate with leaves and flowers. Enjoy!