A Local Tofu Maker Starts His Business for the Season

December 20th, 2009 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Information, Shopping
    Kawakami vil. tofu maker, Ken-ichi Endo
    Kawakami vil. tofu maker, Ken-ichi Endo    

    Initially it was not so much a business for him to make tofu as his hobby,and for his own sake; to reduce the high cholesterol count without ever quitting sake.  

  3. Now it is his fourth year to make and sell tofu,although just during the non-farming season.
  4. Since it is a hobby, as his wife who is adamant in placing herself free to help/or not help him insists, he makes it twice a week at the most.     
  6.      “ Ken-ichi san, you are a bit late this year to start making tofu. Did you finish your farming later than usual?”
  7. “ No,no, I have joined the hunting team,you know, and been busy chasing deer. That’s all.” 
  8. “ Good for you, you have added a new hobby!”   
  14.    Anyway, let us look at his procedure.
  15. Around noon the day before making tofu, soybeans are soaked in buckets of water.
  16.  He starts his morning by boiling water in an iron cauldron.
  17. While the water gets heated, pour the swollen soybeans to an electric grinder to make “ go-jiru”. 
  20. milky white 'go-jiru', grinded soybean added with water

    milky white 'go-jiru', grinded soybean added with water

  22. Pour all the ‘go-jiru’ into the cauldron and heat with the water. 
  24. The heated ‘go-jiru’ is then poured into a cotton sack to separate ‘ soymilk’  from it. ‘ okara’ remains in the sack after a good squeeze.              
    okara, soybean lees

    okara, soybean lees


  36. Then into the soymilk add ‘nigari’ ,bittern.
  37. This part is the critical part. The tofu maker first checks the temperature of the soymilk when to stir in the ‘nigari’, then wacthing it curd, stir the whole milk slowly and carefully several times.
  38. setting cotton cloths inside a mold

    setting cotton cloths inside a mold

    Meanwhile, molds have to be set prepared. setting a cotton cloth inside a mold

    When the soymilk is ready, pour it into the mold.

    After carefully wrapped with the cotton cloth and pressed with the wooden lid and an appropriate weight , the soymilk  drains its water bit by bit to become a solid tofu.

    This one mold of tofu is divided to 20 packs .pict0004



     After spending 6~7 hours making 80 packs of tofu, Ken-ichi sets out selling them; knocking on the doors of friends and relatives through the village. Often bringing back some hand made ‘ oyaki’s and ‘manju’s which his ‘customers’ gave him. Recently, beside tofu, some customers like to buy soymilk. So Ken-ichi brings it with plastic bottles,too.


    tofu in a ' yu-dofu' style

    tofu in a ' yu-dofu' style

    And now , sake time as usual. It is so cold outside today, so ‘yu-dofu’, tofu floating in hot water, is perfect.

    As for his cholesterol count, I am sure tofu has had its effect, but I hope he also reduces his sake intake as well…Well, he happens to be my husband,you see.

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