豆腐の旅パート2:豆腐体験 Tofu Journey Chapter 2: Tofu Experience

件の道具を抱えて大島へ。ところが徳蔵さん、あっさり「できん」。「そりゃ本職の仕事やもん、私にはできんよ。角度の違ったりしたら挽かれんくなる」。あれやこれや言ってみても、頑として首を縦に振りません。さてどうしたものか。職人さんに習ってくるか。ならば町外に範囲を広げて職人探しをしなければ…。

なんて悩んでいる時、石臼豆腐作りがあるとの情報が。電動ミキサーではなく石臼を使って作る人が、この島にはまだ2人います。どちらも高齢(強いけど)で、見せてくださいと頼んでも、正月しか作らんと言われてきました。それが、4月の金比羅大祭の振る舞い用に作ることにしたらしいのです。夢にまで見た石臼の豆腐、取るものも取りあえず、あらゆる予定を返上して駆けつけました。

砕いて浸水させた大豆 Soy beans, cracked and soaked
砕いて浸水させた大豆
Soy beans, cracked and soaked

I crossed to Oshima with the heavy tool only to be told that cutting grooves on our own wasn’t an option. “It’s the work of professionals. You could cut them at the wrong angle and it won’t grind anything. I can’t do it”, says Tokuzo san. I tried to persuade him, but to no avail. Hmm, should I go find a professional and learn how to do it? Where can I find one? I was mulling it over in my head when I heard the news; tofu making is going to happen! Here people still make this tofu occasionally, but only two of them still use the traditional stone mill. I had asked them to tell me when they made it, but was told that they’d only do it for the new year, when I am usually away. This time, however, one of them decided to do it for the festival of Konpira-san, the god of the sea. I put all my plans for the day on hold and went. It’s been my dream to see it for two years!

普段は早朝から挽き始め、母屋の家族が起き出すころには終盤だという山本のおばあちゃんの豆腐仕事。今日は私に合わせて午後からにしてくれました。家に着くと、割って水に漬けておいた大豆と石臼が、縁側に用意されています。ここの臼も目が擦れてきて挽きづらいから、豆をまず乾燥状態で一度挽き割ってから水に漬けるのだと。それを、ばあちゃんと石臼を挟んで向かい合って座り、一緒に柄を持って回して挽きます。少しずつ豆を入れ、水を足し、ゴロゴロゴロゴロ。2人でも結構力を使います。3升の豆を挽くのに2〜3時間かかるそう。これを朝飯前にやってしまう彼女は徳蔵さんの同級生の84歳。普段でも毎朝4時には起きて、波止へアジゴ釣りに行く強者です。

ゴロゴロゴロゴロ Turning the mill
ゴロゴロゴロゴロ
Turning the mill

So my teacher today is Tomi san, who is said to be the toughest over-eighty year-old in the island. On Tofu day, she starts the work at 4 am and it’s mostly done by the time the rest of the family get up (on no tofu day, she goes fishing). Today, she waited until the afternoon for me. The beans and tools were set up when I got to her house. Her mill stone is also worn out, so the soybeans were first cracked while dry, then soaked for a few hours. We sat face to face with the mill between us, holding the handle together, and started grinding. We ground beans a little at a time while constantly adding water. She said it took her 2-3 hours to grind about 3 kilos of beans. The stone is fairly heavy. I can’t believe she does it alone, before breakfast!

呉 "go"

“go”

若い頃の色恋話や苦労話を聞きながら挽ききって、できた呉を大釜に移し、「焚きもんがきらうとよ」と言って焚き始めたのが竹。「きらう」とは、好みがあるというか、何でもいいわけではないということみたい。特にこの一番炊き(1度炊いて、絞ってから二番炊きをする)は竹じゃないといけないとか。火力が強いからか、でも何だか神聖な匂いもします。乾いた竹が威勢良く燃えて、2束焚き終わる頃に呉が噴き上げ始めます。だいぶ昔、実家でにがりの豆腐を日常的に作っていた時期がありました。重要ポイントのひとつは焦がさないこと。温度が上がってきたら火を弱め、沸騰するまでひたすら混ぜて焦げ付かないようにする。その鉄則を覆すのが潮豆腐です。ほとんど混ぜずに沸騰の時を迎えました。バケツに入れた晒し袋に流し込んで、おからと豆乳に分けます。

竹で勢い良く沸かします Bamboo fire heating up the "go"
竹で勢い良く沸かします
Bamboo fire heating up the “go”

1回絞ったら更に水を足してよく揉んで、これでもかとばかりに豆乳を絞り出す。大釜の底はやっぱりコゲコゲ、それを当たり前のように金ダワシでこすり落とします。大釜はカマドに据えつけなので、水を入れて洗い、柄杓で汲みだします。最後はアワビの殻で。

豆乳しぼり Squeezing soy milk out of "go"
豆乳しぼり
Squeezing soy milk out of “go”

きれいになった大釜に豆乳を戻し、再び火をつけます。この時に潮(海水)も投入。柄杓でじゃばじゃば入れて、味をみて。温度が上がるにつれて、ほろほろと固まってきます。沸いたら完了。晒しを敷いた箱に詰めて重しをして小一時間待つと、大きな豆腐の出来上がりです。

豆乳いただきます How about a cup of fresh soy milk?
豆乳いただきます
How about a cup of fresh soy milk?

As she told me about romances and hardships from her youth, we finished grinding all the beans. The thick paste that came out is called “go”. It is put in the giant pot sitting over the outdoor fireplace and the fire was lit with bamboo sticks as fuel. It has to be with bamboo, she said, especially the fist heating. I wondered if it was because of the strong heat they made, but there might also be some spiritual reasons. With the big bamboo fire, it wasn’t too long before the “go” started boiling. It’s very different from making tofu with “nigari” that I used to do at home with my mother. I remember that one of the critical points was not to burn the bottom, for which I had to stir the liquid constantly over the medium to low heat.

固まり始めます Curdling
固まり始めます
Curdling

Oshima style tofu flies in the face of that rule. The first heating was done with little stirring and there was a layer of burned soy milk at the bottom of the pot. The “go” is separated into soy milk and “okara”, the pulp, while the pot was scrubbed quickly. The soy milk was put back in the pot and the second heating started, this time with sea water added in. How much sea water? She didn’t know. “pour some scoops in and have a taste”. I tasted it and it was slightly salty. Then it started to curdle as the temperature rose, and she put out the fire when it reached the boiling point. While I was sampling the hot, super fresh tofu, the curd was packed into the big tofu box lined with cotton cloth. We left it with a weight on it for an hour or so and voila! there was the tofu.

過分な水をまず出します Taking the whey out
過分な水をまず出します
Taking the whey out

どっしり硬く、ぷんと大豆が香り、柔らかい潮味がする豆腐(焦げの匂いもほんのり)。そのままいくらでも食べられそうな贅沢品です。法要や婚礼の振舞い料理には、これを醤油で炊くのが常。たまには油で揚げたり、あおい松葉を敷いて囲炉裏で炙ったりもしていたそうです。

重しをして待つこと1時間・・・ Wait with the weight on
重しをして待つこと1時間・・・
Wait with the weight on

 

 

 

 

 

水や潮の量にしろ焦げにしろ、目から鱗が落ちるような豪快さでもって作る島の味。やっぱり自作への道を突き進まねばなりません。

まだほんのり温かい Nicely packed, still warm
まだほんのり温かい
Nicely packed, still warm

It’s substantial, the soy flavor is prominent, and there is a hint of the sea (and the burn). The experience of grinding adds a taste of fulfillment to this already rich tofu. For events such as weddings, funerals, or memorial services, it’s usually simmered in soy sauce broth and served with other vegetables. Back in the day, occasionally, it was deep fried or grilled on top of green pine leaves over the fire. This festive yet homey food is indeed awesome, I must somehow make it on my own.

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