Watch Mandu’s Danny Lee make fresh tofu

November 19, 2013

Only a handful of restaurants in town are in the business of making their own tofu, a lengthy process that requires a lot of effort but yields just a few tender pieces. Doi Moi has been making delicate house-made tofu expressly for its spicy, vegetarian wild mushroom curry; making it in-house has allowed the Source's Scott Drewno to infuse his incarnations with all kinds of cool flavors.

Korean restaurant Mandu, a favorite of D.C. vegetarians, has gotten in the act, too. Tonight, try the housemade tofu for yourself at the restaurant's two locations.


House-made tofu at Mandu. (Photo by Danny Lee)

We asked Mandu's Danny Lee to walk us through the tofu-making process, which begins with soaking and grinding soybeans, bringing the resulting soymilk to a boil and straining it to get a smooth soy milk. Lee then uses a coagulant known as nigari to turn the milk into curd-like solids, before pressing it into a nice firm block of tofu.  The result is a tofu that is free of bitterness familiar to any of us who've eaten it out of a container, and easy to eat with little garnish. Mandu's version is topped with a soy glaze that has been reduced down and infused with Korean red and green chili peppers, garlic and spicy gochujang, garnished with  sliced green onions, vinegar and sesame.

Check out the whole 45-minute process in little more than 24 seconds of video below.

 

Lavanya Ramanathan is a professional eater/drinker/thinker for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. University of Texas. Northwestern University. Rap fan.
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Tim Carman | November 19, 2013