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Archive for August 24th, 2010

I posted about Mrs. Cheng’s Soybean Products on 29 July 2010.  We were visiting our Qi Master and the Mistress Qi this weekend and I had mentioned the tofu factory, especially doufu gan. Doufu gan is doufu that is condensed with most of the moisture removed and sometimes coated with a Chinese five spice coating.

I’m a little confused  about the making of doufu gan. Our cousin B, calls it baked doufu, an article from this blog describes it as pressed doufu (http://passionateeater.blogspot.com/2007/03/pressed-five-spice-tofu.html), and the staff at Mrs. Cheng’s Soybean Products calls it dried doufu. My guess is that the process of making doufu gan involves baking, pressing, and drying, but that topic will hopefully be left for a future post.

Getting back on track, the Mistress Qi said that they used to love eating celery and doufu gan but couldn’t find doufu gan in the markets anymore.  The Qi Master and the Mistress Qi got excited about finding the ingredient again.

Yesterday, a field trip to Mrs. Cheng’s Soybean Products factory was planned. Many doufu  products (“milk”,  doufu or tofu in its various forms) start with the “milk” extracted from the soybeans.  See preparation section of this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_milk.

All soybean products starts off with soybeans (duh).

Soybeans

The Mistress Qi was very excited that the factory uses non GMO ingredients.

This machine does the heating, grinding and extracting of soy milk.

Soybean "Milk" Extractor

The machine produces two outputs, “milk” and the soybean solids, also called doufu zha in Mandarin, or okara in Japanese.  Here’s an article about the solids: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okara_(food).

Soybean "Milk"

Soybean Solids

The “milk” is then transferred to individual bottles for sale (I’m probably simplifying the process, this is the CliffNotes version).

Preparing Bottles for Filling

Soybean "Milk" Ready for Sale

Family Size

The other doufu products were in refrigerators with solid doors, I was not able to take pictures.

The Qi Master and Mistress Qi purchased several blocks of regular doufu and several blocks of doufu gan.  The Mistress Qi wanted to show her sister and her husband the factory next time they’re in town.

The only thing missing from this field trip were samples at the end of the visit (can’t have everything). 🙂

The Master and Mistress can eat celery again. Yay.

Enjoy.

The Mouse

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Konnyaku

Sales are a good thing.  It gives me the chance to try different ingredients without feeling too guilty if the dish fails. Last week, our Japanese membership store had konnyaku on sale.  Konnyaku is a jelly made from the corm of the jǔ ruò plant.

Here’s the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjac.

I’ve tried konnyaku in restaurants before, usually as oden, or in sukiyaki.  It’s not an ingredient that knocks my socks off. It usually doesn’t have much taste and the texture takes some getting used to.  However, after reading the write-up on the Just Hungry blog, I was intrigued enough to give konnyaku another chance.

Here’s the article: http://www.justhungry.com/2007/01/konnyaku_and_shirataki_ojftmhy.html

Konnyaku package information:

Package Front

Nutrition information:

Nutrition Information

Konnyaku

The konnyaku I’ve eaten in restaurants didn’t have much flavor.  To me, it didn’t seem to pick-up the flavor in whatever broth or sauce it was in.  I hoped that cooking the konnyaku in a stronger tasting broth may help.  I first thought about simmering it in a miso broth but we didn’t have any in the refrigerator.  We had doenjang, a Korean soybean paste on hand.

Following the recommendation in the Just Hungry website, I blanched the konnyaku in boiling water for about a minute (there’s a slight fishy smell straight of the package).  After draining and drying the konnyaku,  I simmered it indoenjang broth, dried mushrooms, and some chili powder for about half-an-hour.  I wanted to focus on the konnyaku, so I limited the ingredients. I added green onions for garnish.

Konnyaku in Doenjang Broth

Using doenjang as basis for the broth was a good choice.  The strong flavor of the doenjang, along with the chili powder gave the konnyaku something to stand on. The texture was still something I would have to get used to to.  The texture is not tough, not crispy, and not chewy. I would describe the texture as resilient crunchy.

It took me lots of chewing to eat konnyaku. I felt full after eating (there are little or no calories in konnyaku). I’m not sure if my brain felt that I should be full after all that chewing or my stomach was actually full (probably a little of both).

Konnyaku is still not one of my favorite foods (couldn’t knock my socks off), but I do have an appreciation for it.  I may try it again next time I want to lose a few pounds, do a lot of chewing, or it’s on sale.

Here’s the article on doenjang: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doenjang

Enjoy.

The Mouse

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