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Any Legume Tofu (Zero Waste)

This is an exciting zero-waste update to the Any Legume Tofu I posted around one year ago. Ever since starting to make tofu out of different legumes (for instance, chickpeas, green peas or red lentils), I’ve been bothered by the amount of pulp that was leftover after straining.
1 hr +

Any Legume Tofu (Zero Waste)

Sure, you can use the pulp to thicken stews and soups or mix it into breads like this Sourdough Rye. But really, I was hopeful for a method that would avoid the pulp altogether so that the legumes retain all of their nutritional benefits. After some testing, I was finally able to tweak the recipe to a point where it doesn’t involve any straining at all. Plus, this is also an easy way to flavour the tofu in any way you like, for instance with ginger, chilli and turmeric as I’ve done here.

What is Legume Tofu?

If you are new to this type of tofu, let me rewind a little bit. This is not the traditional type of Chinese tofu, which is made by curdling soy milk and pressing the curds into a firm block. Instead, it is similar to Burmese tofu, a common dish from the Shan minority in Burma (Myanmar) that is traditionally made with flour from split yellow lentils or chickpeas.

With Burmese tofu, the liquid is heated until it begins to coagulate and is then left to set into a soft block. Because of the difference in texture, you can’t use Burmese tofu as a substitute for firm soybean tofu, as it is rather delicate and might not withstand much stir frying or longer cooking times in liquids. I prefer cutting it into cubes and shallow frying them with a bit of salt until golden brown on each side. They can then be coated in your favourite sauce or spices and used to top off dishes or served as a side.

Although Burmese tofu is commonly made with chickpea flour, you can, in essence, use any dried legume and apply the same method by soaking and blending them.

IMPORTANT: Some raw legumes, especially certain beans, are not safe to consume, because they contain natural toxins as a defence mechanism against wild predators. For most beans, the cooking time in this recipe is NOT enough to break down the toxins. So far, I tested the method in this recipe with chickpeas, red lentils, green peas and olive green lentils, so ideally stick to any of those to be on the safe side. If you’d like to use beans, I’d recommend either adding more water and cooking the paste for at least 20 minutes or following THIS recipe and strain the beans to remove any larger particles that might not cook in time. Always make sure that your tofu has set properly, otherwise, start over instead of eating it anyway.

Why does it work?

Most legumes are high in protein (around 20%). By extracting and heating them, you can change the protein bonds, causing them to firm up. Most of us have already experienced this process before when boiling an egg, turning the white from translucent to firm. Although this works with any dried legume, it’s slightly different with soybeans, which are even higher in protein (around 40%) and therefore begin to curdle when heated in the form of soy milk like in this recipe.

One of my favourite ways to use Burmese tofu is to be inspired by other cultures who have long adapted the use of chickpea flour into creations like Panisse or panelle.

makes 200g

Ingredients

  • 100g dried legumes* (chickpeas, lentils or peas)

  • 250ml water

*if you’re using a different type of legume than recommended, please read the ‘IMPORTANT’ note in the description.

Method

Soak the legumes in plenty of water overnight or for at least 8 hours.

The next day, drain the legumes and add them to the jug of a high-speed blender (I use my Vitamix E310) together with 250 ml of water. Then blend for 1 minute on high speed until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a non-stick frying pan and stir in 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook it for 2 to 5 minutes, stirring it constantly with a spatula. The starches will sink to the bottom and stick, so you must keep stirring to avoid it from burning. Continue cooking until it has formed into a thick paste that doesn’t level out in the pan anymore and holds on to the spatula. If it’s still runny, just cook it a little longer. Once ready, transfer the mixture to a mould and let it set for an hour (ideally in the fridge) before using.

Storage: Keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Any Legume Tofu (Zero Waste)

This is an exciting zero-waste update to the Any Legume Tofu I posted around one year ago. Ever since starting to make tofu out of different legumes (for instance, chickpeas, green peas or red lentils), I’ve been bothered by the amount of pulp that was leftover after straining.
5 from 1 vote
Course Staples
Servings 200 g

Ingredients
  

  • 100 g dried legumes* chickpeas, lentils or peas
  • 250 ml water

Instructions
 

  • Soak the legumes in plenty of water overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  • The next day, drain the legumes and add them to the jug of a high-speed blender (I use my Vitamix E310) together with 250 ml of water. Then blend for 1 minute on high speed until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a non-stick frying pan and stir in 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook it for 2 to 5 minutes, stirring it constantly with a spatula. The starches will sink to the bottom and stick, so it’s important that you keep stirring to avoid it from burning. Continue cooking until it has formed into a thick paste that doesn’t level out in the pan anymore and holds on to the spatula. If it’s still runny, just cook it a little longer. Once ready, transfer the mixture to a mould and let it set for an hour (ideally in the fridge) before using.

Notes

IMPORTANT: Some raw legumes, especially certain beans, are not safe to consume, because they contain natural toxins as a defense mechanism against wild predators. For most beans, the cooking time in this recipe is NOT enough to break down the toxins. So far, I tested the method in this recipe with chickpeas, red lentils, green peas and olive green lentils, so ideally stick to any of those to be on the safe side. If you’d like to use beans, I’d recommend either adding more water and cooking the paste for at least 20 minutes or following THIS recipe and strain the beans to remove any larger particles that might not cook in time. Always make sure that your tofu has set properly, otherwise, start over instead of eating it anyway.
Storage: Keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.

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8 Comments

  1. Ana

    5 stars
    We tried making this today with red lentils and oh wow it was so good! It was a little squidgier than I had anticipated but after baked in the oven with coconut aminos and oil it was a real treat 🙂
    Thanks for the awesome recipe

    Reply
    • Julius Fiedler

      I’m so glad to hear that! Yes the texture is softer than traditional tofu, since it’s not curdled. Roasting it the way you did sounds delicious!

      Reply
  2. Annabel

    I tried this, and it was very easy and worked well. However, we vent it would have been much nicer had I seasoned the raw pulp before cooking it, which I shall do next time. I also want to try cooking the finished cubes on an air fryer.

    Reply
    • Julius Fiedler

      Adding chilli and ginger to the mix when blending is a great way to flavour it. You can even throw in some coriander or spinach, especially for green legumes like mung beans or dried peas.

      Reply
  3. Elle

    Have you tried adding sugar or other sweetener to it and using it as a dessert? I saw some comments on YouTube referencing that and I’m wondering about proportions.

    Reply
    • Julius Fiedler

      Not yet, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. In a strange way, it could be nice before it sets, sort of like a pudding.

      Reply
    • Nikki

      What are the calories? I cannot figure it out

      Reply
      • Julius Fiedler

        Sorry, I currently don’t add those values to the recipes. Will try to do it in the future.

        Reply

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