Looking for nigari?

February 1, 2019 6:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Nigari is one of our top sellers at Naturally Good Food. But it’s not something you’re likely to stumble across by chance. We sell nigari to people who know exactly what it is and exactly what they plan to do with it. It’s time for them to let us in on the secret…

We've got nigari: do you know what to do with it?

Image: Romain Behar

What is nigari?

Nigari is a product extracted from sea salt. It’s formed of beautifully white, translucent shards, which clink like icicles as you scoop them from the bag. These shards are mostly made up of magnesium chloride – there may be traces of other seawater minerals present too. It’s known as ‘lushui’ in Chinese.

We sell nigari in bulk 20kg sacks at Naturally Good Food, as well as 5kg packs and small 1kg bags.

What do you do with nigari?

Mostly, you make tofu with it. It’s possible to buy ready-made tofu, of course, but if you’re a real fan of the stuff, you can’t beat a proper home-made version. Nigari serves as a coagulant in the tofu-making process, turning a fluid (soya milk) into a solid.

The process is great fun: you simply add nigari to boiled and cooled soya milk and leave it to transform into fluffy white curds. You then press these together (perhaps using a specialist tofu press), to form blocks of tofu.

It’s possible to use lemon juice or vinegar as a coagulant instead of nigari, but in our opinion, only nigari manages to bring out the sweetness of the beans without adding an overwhelming flavour of its own. Nigari also does the best job of giving a firm shape to the tofu, while allowing it to keep a soft skin. At the end of this blog we’ve got full instructions for using nigari to make tofu.

Tofu, of course, is a wonderfully versatile ingredient in vegetarian and vegan dishes. It’s rich in protein, low in fat and a great carrier for all flavours. If you’re interested in making your own, you’ll probably want to check out our range of soya milk and soy beans too.

What else can you do with nigari?

As you might expect, nigari doesn’t just coagulate soya milk: you can use it to coagulate cow’s milk, goat’s milk or other kinds of milk too. Tofu is really soybean cheese – nigari makes a basic, ricotta-like cheese out of the other milks too.

Some of our customers also dilute nigari in water or juice and take it medicinally, aiming to reap the benefits of its mineral content directly. Remember to take medical advice first, if you’re thinking of doing this.

Nigari is also popular as a luxury beauty product, especially in spas. It’s said to be great for softening rough skin – and can either be dissolved in water, or used as a rub, to tone and refresh.

Can you make your own nigari?

You can. You just need to boil up part of the ocean! An engaging child shows you how to do just that in this video.

A word of caution

Staff at Naturally Good Food are especially trained in handling nigari. The crystals attract moisture, so must be moved from their original bulk sack to the final packaging, and then sealed, as quickly as possible. If nigari has a chance to become damp, the moisture can spread rapidly through the whole batch.

There are other companies selling nigari in plastic tubs. At Naturally Good Food we’re very conscious of our customers’ desire to keep plastic packaging (as well as costs) to a minimum. With our careful handling, we have no problems sending nigari out in paper sacks, lined with biodegradable cellophane.

Make your own tofu with nigari

Here’s how to do it….(check out this video too)

Ingredients

2 pints soya milk

1 tsp nigari

Method

Boil the soya milk for 5 minutes, then let it cool to 70-80C (160-175F).

Dissolve the nigari in a cup of warm water, then add the mixture to the soya milk. Stir gently and set aside for around 20 minutes. During this time, small, white, fluffy curds will begin to form.

When the curds have formed, wrap them in a muslin square. Gently apply pressure, either manually, or with a weight, to remove the liquid from the curds. When the curds form a sold block, cease the pressure.

The tofu can either be eaten immediately, or stored, covered in water, in the fridge. You should change the water daily until the tofu has been eaten.

And what to do with your tofu once you’ve made it? The possibilities are endless – but here are three quick menu ideas:

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This post was written by Yzanne

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