Sunday, 24 January 2010

Binge - From Soymilk to Tofu Right Before Your Eyes

CNY is a time to indulge in new clothes, like all the ‘rad rags’ we have been highlighting. But deep dark secret, it’s also a time to give in to one’s more ‘auntie’ inclinations – like buying dried mushrooms, queuing up for bak kwa, baking pineapple tarts and making red dates and dried longan tea! So when I encountered this new contraption called the Banrai-Nabe tofu maker set, the auntie side of me was so impressed. But let me say that I was not the only one, and many a fellow food writer at the launch were I think similarly piqued.

Essentially, it is a double steamer that turns liquid soy milk into soft, smooth tofu in 15 minutes. All you do is pour some water into the outer pot, their high-protein soymilk into the inner pot together with a packet of Nigari coagulant, and steam it for 15 minutes. The resulting tofu has the consistency of chawan mushi, and a rich, dense flavour of soybean. The soymilk itself is special - made from 100% Fukuyutaka beans and with over 11% soy protein, among the highest concentrations in the market. The tofu is served with green tea, yuzu or wasabi seasoning on the side, or topped with some tuna floss, all of which are provided as part of the set.

The flavour of the tofu probably takes some getting used to because of its richness, but I think it’s particularly good for little kids, babies and the elderly who need a super nutrition fix. And with CNY coming round, it’s something nifty to serve at the table since it can be cooked with solid fuel for more added drama at the table, or as a CNY gift to some fave auntie. Apart from tofu, the pot can be used to steam other dishes like porridge, vegetables, seafood and even dim sum.

The small gift set ($148) comes with the small Banrai Nabe pot and stand which serves 2-3 people, two 1-litre packs of soybean milk, 10 packets of coagulant (brine from the Seto Inland Sea), 10 packs of the flavouring salts, two packs of ground tuna floss and 10 pieces of solid fuel. The large set comprising a large pot serves 8 people, and costs $198.

Available at Nihon Mura and Suki Sushi outlets, or directly from Toyo International Trading (tel: 6844 4269 or


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