Learn to Make Go, a Soybean Puree used to Prepare Tofu

The first step in making tofu, go is a nutritious soybean puree that can be used in several recipes, such as bread and casseroles.

| July/August 1976

Excerpt from "The Book of Tofu", copyright ®1975 by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi. Excerpts used by permission of Autumn Press, Inc.
Click on the Image Gallery to see referenced figures.

Gô is a thick white purée of well-soaked uncooked soybeans. It is more full bodied in texture than whipped cream, but not as thick as cream cheese. It is interesting to note that the Japanese character for g6 is also used to represent the verb kureru meaning "to give". This is appropriate, since gô is the source of each of the various tofu products, and it is the first transformation of whole soybeans in the alchemy of tofu-making. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Tofu is a protein-packed food made from soybean curds . . . learn how to make it here..)  

Gô is the only stage in the tofu-making process where the entire soybean is still together. In the next step, the gô will be separated into okara (soybean pulp) and soymilk. Thus by using gô in cooking, we can enjoy the full range of the soybean's nutrients in their natural balance and completeness.

By soaking and grinding the soybean into gô, we greatly reduce the amoôunt of time and fuel required for its thorough cooking, just as it is quicker and more economical to cook rolled rather than whole-grain oats.

Moreover, gô need be simmered for only 15 minutes or pressure-cooked for 10 if it is to be used directly as a food (or be further processed into soymilk). It requires as few as 10 to 15 minutes of simmering if it is to be made into tofu, since trypsin inhibitor is contained in the soluble carbohydrates that dissolve in the whey during the curding process.

To prepare gô with the best flavor and nutritional value, soak your soybeans for the correct length of time (see graph with sidebar cited above). Puree or grind them to a fine, smooth-textured consistency using an electric blender, a Corona- or Quaker City-type hand mill, a meat grinder with a fine attachment, an electric grain mill, a coffee mill, a mortar and pestle, a suribachi (an earthenware grinding bowl), or a juicer. Most important, cook the fresh gô without delay, and do not overcook lest some of the protein value be lost.

The word "gô" is used by Japanese tofu makers in three different ways. First, it refers to the white purée mentioned above. Second, it is used to refer to a property of dry soybeans, similar to the gluten in wheat, which is a measure of the quantity and quality of the protein in the beans. The presence of this property depends on the soybeans' variety and grade, the region, climate, and soil in which they were grown, and their particular year of "vintage". It is important in determining the amount of tofu that can be made from a given quantity of beans, and it determines the cohesiveness and delicate resilience of both the purée and the tofu made from it.

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