Saturday, August 3, 2013

Making Sauerkraut and Homemade Tofu (Potchkerei)

I love sauerkraut and last week I stood looking at the jar of it in the supermarket and thinking there must be a way to make this rather than paying about 20 times the price of a cabbage for it. And I'm sure there was added stuff that I didn't need in it.

A couple of days ago Elaine at Mortgage Free in Three, posted how to make sauerkraut. And guess what? It's just cabbage and salt. I always have a cabbage on the go in the fridge. I slice off a bit to give some crunch to any savoury sandwich. I had about a 1/4 of a cabbage left so I followed Elaine's instructions and made a jam jar's worth of sauerkraut. Of course it has to ferment for a week but if it tastes good I'll make a bigger batch next time. (You can see my soy beans soaking in the background.)

As I was potchkeing about in the kitchen anyway and I'd bought dried soy beans with the express purpose of making my own tofu, I decided to get to it. You have to soak the soy beans for about 7 hours before you start and then make the soy milk before you even get to the tofu part. I chose this recipe because it tells you to save the ground soy beans left over from making the soy milk. It's called okara and it's nutritious. There are loads of recipes online for okara. It would be a crime to throw it out but many of the tofu recipes say to chuck it.

I used one cup of dry beans which swelled to about three cups after soaking. I used lemon juice as the coagulator. I was thrilled when I saw my soy milk curdling. Payback for all the times I've baked a cake and added the eggs too fast or something. Suffice to say I know curdling when I see it.

My yield of tofu was less than one cup. Delicious as it was, and it was - with a delicate lemony taste, I was decidedly underwhelmed. I could have used it in a tofu recipe but I was fed up by that point. It was like one of those French Haute Cuisine or Cordon Bleu things where you reduce and reduce for hours and end up with a thimble of exquisite sauce. I sprinkled it with salt, olive oil and some za'atar and ate it in less than a minute.

If you were unsure of the meaning of potchkerei above - this is it. Eight hours of work and a sink full of pots for this. Tofu isn't cheap but if you factor in the time, water, gas, electricity, washing up liquid... I'll be buying my tofu in future.

The okara however, ended up as 24 soy-oat-peanut butter-raisin-brown sugar cookies. Yum. And the final straining of the tofu curds left me with a soy stock which looked and tasted like a light misu soup. I fried some onions and garlic, added seasoning and soy sauce and ended up with delicious onion-soy soup.

So I got something for all the potchkerei, just not the mountain of cheap and healthy tofu I was expecting. And I'll let you know how the sauerkraut tastes next week.


  1. A very resourceful week! It all sounds great! :)

    1. Except for the measely amount of tofu, but it did all taste great.

  2. I have got the superb information from these blogs finally.
    how to make sauerkraut

  3. You are seriously awesome. You made your own sauerkraut AND your own tofu???? Respect, woman, total respect. xx