A new way of processing Tofu, one of Asia's staples and still growing in popularity in the west, has been developed in Japan.
Traditionally the method of processing tofu is a relatively long and laborious process, requiring the use of coagulants to thicken it up and give it it's solid consistency.
A report in the Japan Food Services Journal states that Japanese firm, Tanakashoku, which makes tofu from deep sea water, and the Sunshine chain of supermarkets, jointly developed Muroto Kaiyo Shinsosuien Tofu, a tofu product that uses no coagulant.
The method employed is a proprietary technique using mineral-rich deep sea water as the bittern. According to the developers, without a coagulant, the flavour of the soybeans is richer, yet the texture is just as rich and creamy as tofu produced with a coagulant.
Typically, Tanakashoku uses only 3 per cent to 5 per cent of deep sea water in its tofu, but Muroto Kaiyo Shinsosuien Tofu has 25 per cent. For this tofu, the soybeans used are a non-genetically modified variety grown in Kochi Prefecture in a ratio 1.5 times the usual amount. Because the manufacturing process is simpler and doesn't take as long, the companies say that production costs are also significantly reduced, although that reduction does depend on the cost of transporting the sea water. The tofu is now being sold at 41 affiliated shops under the Sunshine umbrella in Japan.
Patenting the process and either exporting the tofu or licensing its production overseas now seems to be an inevitable next step for the companies.