I am not a vegetarian, though from an eco perspective I know that is the right thing to be. I guess there is always room for improvement, though, as a pig farmer’s daughter, it may take me a while to give up bacon and ham….Anyway, I don’t eat that much meat and am always looking for tasty non-meat options.
I admit, I find tofu a hard thing to cook and an even harder thing to sell to the kids. Smoked tofu, on the other hand, is the school snack of choice of my very fussy five-year old.
I first discovered smoked tofu through my organic delivery box when I lived in Toronto, a whole lifetime ago (or so it seems now). I am big fan of things smoked, so I figured it was worth a shot. And what a great shot that turned out to be.
I have been seeking out Soya Nova Smoked Tofu ever since. The problem is that it is hard to find.
This tofu is very dense and dry so can easily be sliced and eaten as a snack, in a sandwich or in cooked food (none of that disconcerting wobble of fresh tofu….). It tastes delicious; you can almost feel the goodness. I have a great recipe for smoked tofu rice (with egg, celery, mushrooms, peas) and, just last night, I ate it it in a sushi roll. Yum.
Soya Nova is a traditional-style tofu shop located on Salt Spring Island in BC (for non-Canadians, this is a small island that lies between the west coast of Canada and Vancouver Island. It’s quite a hip destination, lot’s of good food, plant nurseries and massage…).
It is a family business that has been going for 26 years. They make a variety of tofu products – marinated, curried, spread, etc. – using traditional Japanese methods and all Canadian-grown, organic, non-GMO soy beans.
The process involves soaking the beans in water (the water they use is from a 250 foot deep well and they tell me it has a perfect pH balance, which is important since half the weight of tofu is water), draining them, rinsing them again and grinding them up with water to produce a slurry. The slurry is added to a large open cauldron of boiling water, cooked for 20 minutes and ladled into a cloth sack which is then pressed to extract the milk, and the soybean pulp (okara).
A natural coagulant is added which turns the soy milk into curds and whey. The curds are placed in cloth-lined stainless steel boxes and pressed with weights for 40 minutes, then cut up and immersed in cold water before packaging or smoking.
Now I have whet your appetite, here is the hard part. Soya Nova sells quite widely on the west coast of Canada and is available even as far east as Winnipeg. But Soya Nova no longer has a distributor in Ontario. In addition, although they have a Facebook page, they don’t have a website, so it is hard to find out about the product.
But there is a solution. Deb is very helpful if you email her direct at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 250-537-965. She send out parcels containing 12 x 225g packages of smoked tofu. These will arrive in 2 days and last several months in the fridge.
The cost is $3.50/package before shipping (which costs about $30 to Ontario: a lot, but not too bad if you average it per pack). So, your all-in price is about $6 per pack, which is not much more than the price the tofu sells for in stores on Salt Spring Island ($5.60 per pack, I am told). And it is great to have it delivered to your door.
I think it is worth it to go through this effort. I have tried a more commercial brand of smoked tofu and it is nowhere near as good. I’d be interested to know if there is a good similar product in the US.
And for those who live close to me and are interested: come by for a tasting, I have a fridge full right now!