The mold used in traditional Hairy tofu comes from airborne mold spores, which are obtained by placing tofu on straw. Nowadays, technology is used to purify and extract the most suitable and excellent strains for fermentation, which is both more successful and safer.
The kid of mold on hairy tofu is called fungal hyphae, come in many varieties. Common types include Aspergillus oryzae (used for making rice wine), Mucor (used for making Hairy tofu & fermented bean curd), Rhizopus (used for rice koji and soybean koji), Penicillium (for medical use), and Aspergillus flavus (yellow mold that is toxic and carcinogenic, not for consumption). Mucor is used to make Hairy tofu and fermented bean curd. It can produce enzymes such as protease and lipase, making the nutrients in tofu more easily absorbed by the body and giving tofu a better flavor and nutrition.
Humid and hot weather with a relative humidity of 70-80% is favorable for the growth of mold.
The taste of Hairy tofu is similar to that of regular tofu, without any special odor.
If wild-caught mold is used instead of inoculated mold, there is a chance that other colored filaments will appear. It is not recommended to eat them at home, as it is difficult to distinguish the type of mold.
- Hard tofu / cotton tofu (store-bought or homemade) 500g
- Mao mold powder 5g
- Drinking water at room temperature 75g
- Fen liquor 100ml
◤Fermented tofu seasoning
- Homemade five spice powder 1 tsp
- Sand ginger 1 tsp
- Smoked paprika 2 tbsp
- Crushed Chaotian pepper 1 tbsp
- Coarse sea salt 30g
- Stone-milled sesame oil (100% pure sesame oil without mixed soybean oil)
- Avocado oil
1. Before starting, sterilize all containers and utensils. There are many ways to sterilize, and you can refer to the “Cleaning and Disinfection” video. I use a steam oven at 100°C for 10 minutes, then dry them.
2. Hard tofu or cotton tofu is more suitable. If making homemade tofu, cut it into small cubes.
3. For store-bought or homemade tofu that has been stored for more than 1 day, steam it over water for 10 minutes before inoculating with mold to kill off any bacteria and reduce the risk of contamination, which is more conducive to the growth of mold.
4. In a sterilized bowl, dissolve the Mao mold powder in drinking water at room temperature until well mixed.
5. Take out the steamed tofu, evenly coat it with the mold mixture, put it back in the sterilized steamer, and keep a 1-2cm gap between the tofu pieces to provide enough space for the mold to grow.
6. Cover with a lid and a black cloth to avoid light. Ferment at temperatures above 25°C for 2-3 days and at temperatures below 25°C for 4 days to a week. Try to avoid light when peeking and filming during the fermentation process. Do not open the lid arbitrarily, and judge the end time based on the density of the mold.
7. When the video was shot, after fermenting at a temperature of 27°C for 48 hours, a uniform and fine white fuzz had grown. Successful Mao tofu should have pure and snow-white mold, with white fuzz growing on the bottom of the steamer and black particles evenly distributed on top. These spores are a sign of mature Mao tofu.
8. Use chopsticks or a spoon to flatten the white fuzz, which should be wrapped around the tofu to form a skin-like cover.
9. Fry the freshly fermented Mao tofu until golden brown on all sides, and serve with your favorite seasoning and sauce. You can also dry it with a drying machine for 1-2 hours, which will make the skin crispy and the inside tender. If the drying time is too long, it may have an unpleasant smell.
◤Fermented tofu seasoning ♦ Instruction
2. Mix coarse sea salt, smoked paprika (non-spicy), homemade five spice powder, crushed dried Chaotian pepper, and ground red chili pepper (if you like it spicy) in a bowl until well mixed.
3. In another bowl, pour Fen liquor, a type of distilled liquor made mainly from sorghum, which is clear, elegant, sweet, and has a long-lasting taste. Roll the Mao tofu in the Fen liquor and then coat it with the seasoning mixture.
4. Put the seasoned Mao tofu in a sterilized glass jar, add stone-milled sesame oil (100% pure sesame oil without mixed soybean oil), and mix with avocado oil if there is not enough sesame oil. Make sure the tofu is completely covered with oil, and place a small sterilized bowl on top of the tofu to prevent it from floating and exposing.
5. Cover and let it sit for at least 15 days.
6. After 3 days in the jar, there is still fermentation activity with very fine bubbles rising up. After opening the lid, the bubbles are more obvious.
7. After 16 days in the jar, there are no more bubbles, and the fermented tofu is done. Use a sterilized utensil to remove the small bowl on top.
8. The skin formed by the white fuzz is like a skin of tofu skin, tender and slightly chewy with a smoky flavor. The tofu has been fermented into fermented tofu with a creamy and cheese-like texture, and the five-spice flavor is very delicious.
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