Out of a Local First Arizona community kitchen, they make protein-packed blocks of various sizes for local food vendors and the general public. The food is already a staple in several Asian cuisines and a high source of protein, iron and magnesium.
While it tastes bland on its own, there are many ways to season and cook tofu, Willem explained. Clark began making his own tofu at home about four to five years ago. Both he and his son have spent years in the food industry, Clark as a farmer and Willem in restaurants, so when they saw a potential market for small-batch tofu in metro Phoenix, it seemed fitting to combine their experiences. Tofu makers and distributors can be found elsewhere in the country, such as Northwest Tofu and Ota Tofuboth started by Asian American families in the Pacific northwest where Clark's from.
Arizona Tofu Company currently sources its soy beans from several organic farms in the Midwest, with plans to select one farm as its go-to source. Willem, who grew up vegetarian, added that sustainability is also an important aspect of their business and they plan on making Arizona Tofu Company zero waste by the end of He recalled early in life spending time on the family farm in Queen Creek, where his father grew and sold seasonal vegetables.
Clark now works as the farm manager at Arizona Worm Farm, which specializes in composting. Willem said Clark started making tofu because it "seemed easy" enough.
The process does, however, require multiple steps, various equipment and careful timing. First they take dried soy beans and soak them for eight hours overnight. Then they grind the soaked beans with an auger juicer, which is like a cold press juicer that presses the beans and extracts a protein-rich liquid. What comes out of the juicer is soy milk, he described. The waste product is called okara, a soy pulp that can be composted or cooked. He and Clark run the soy milk through a cheese cloth to pull out leftover okara, ensuring the soy milk is smooth and consistent.
They bring the soy milk to a boil, then quickly take it off the heat before it burns.
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At this stage the soy is in a delicate state and the heat brings out a mild sweetness and flavor, but cooking it too long can make it bitter, he said. They then add a coagulant called nigari, a concentration of magnesium chloride that forms from evaporated seawater. Curds will begin forming, which are then scooped out and put into a mold that will form the block. Tofus can have varying levels of firmness, depending on how much water is taken out.
They then put a weight on the block, so excess water can be squeezed out through holes at the bottom of the mold. Afterward they put the tofu in an ice bath to cool it down and prevent bacteria growth, before cutting up the solid block into smaller bricks to be packaged up. Arizona Tofu Company is currently focusing on food vendors, with Chilte Tacos as their first customer. People can also purchase tofu for delivery on Arizona Tofu Company's online shop.
The father-son duo plan to later expand to farmers markets, starting with the Elliot Road Farmers Market in Gilbert.
'don't be scared to season that': meet the father-son duo behind arizona's new tofu company
For those new to tofu, Willem suggests cooking it as a crumble. For example, sauteing onions in olive oil, then adding crumbled tofu and garlic with some smoked paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Then toss that blend in a burrito, taco or salad, he said. For lunch, he might slice tofu into rectangular patties and pan fry it with garlic and herbs such as oregano and basil.
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Then stick that patty in the middle of an Italian-style sub sandwich. Details: Order tofu online at aztofu. For updates on Arizona Tofu Company, follow them at instagram. Place the tofu cutlets into a container and completely cover in tamari.
Allow the tofu to marinate for minutes. While the tofu is marinating, prepare the spice rub by combining all dry ingredients, mix thoroughly. Remove the tofu cutlets from the tamari, and begin the dredging process, ensuring to completely cover all sides of the cutlets with the spice rub. Coat a cooking stone or casserole dish with a thin layer of olive oil.
Cooking spray also works, but I prefer the flavor of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the cutlets and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until tofu is blackened and crispy. How do you like to eat tofu? Reach the reporter at Priscilla. Totiya azcentral. Follow priscillatotiya on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to azcentral. Share your feedback to help improve our site!