Tag Archives: tofu

New tofu machine up and running at Dolma Ling Nunnery

We are delighted to report that the new tofu-making machine is now in use at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India, home to over 230 nuns.

Thanks to some very special donors, in particular Norman Steinberg and another private donor from Canada, this spring the nuns were able to fulfill their long-term dream of purchasing a new tofu machine and establishing it in a purpose-built facility. In April we shared a blog post with a video made in 2012 by the nuns of the old tofu-making process at the nunnery.

new tofu making machine at Dolma Ling NunneryThe nuns at Dolma Ling make tofu every Saturday. The new tofu machine allows the nuns to produce more tofu more efficiently. It takes the nuns much less time to make tofu for the nunnery and for other customers.

The nuns at Dolma Ling follow a vegetarian diet so tofu is an important source of nourishment and protein for them. The tofu is supplied regularly each week to the nunnery kitchen for consumption by the nuns and 2kg is bought every week by the nunnery café.

Tibetan Buddhist nun making tofuAt the moment the nunnery is also getting regular orders for tofu from Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala and sometimes from a few local Tibetan restaurants in the nearby refugee settlement of McLeod Ganj, located above Dharamsala. Both the monastery and the restaurants order as per their needs.

Tibetan Buddhist nun prepares soybeans for making tofuThere are six nuns at Dolma Ling who know how to make tofu. Each Saturday a team of three of those nuns makes the tofu, with the nuns taking turns to do the work. They start working at 6am and finish normally by 2pm. However, on occasions when they have large orders, their work ends at 10pm.

The market value for tofu is 150 Indian rupees per kg (about US$2.36) while the nuns sell it for Rs.130 per kg or approximately US$2.05.

The Tibetan Nuns Project is extremely grateful to Norman Steinberg and the other donors from around the world who made the new tofu-making facility possible.

If you would like to learn more about how the nuns are moving towards greater self-sufficiency, or to help fund these efforts, please contact us at info@tnp.org or donate at https://tnp.org/youcanhelp/donate/.

All photos are courtesy of Venerable Delek Yangdron.

nun making tofu at Dolma Ling Nunnery

From the Nunnery Kitchens: Tibetan Nuns Making Tofu

There’s something special cooking in the kitchens of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in northern India.

For the past several years, the nuns at Dolma Ling have made tofu once a week to supply the nunnery kitchen for meals. There are a lot of mouths to feed at the nunnery, so being able to make tofu in-house is very important. Currently there are over 230 Tibetan Buddhist nuns who live at Dolma Ling Nunnery and there are also teachers and visitors. The nuns follow a vegetarian diet and tofu is a nutritious and protein-rich part of their weekly menu.

Tibetan nuns making tofu

Nuns in 2013 making tofu at Dolma Ling Nunnery. Photo courtesy of Brian Harris.

The nuns also sell any extra tofu to visitors and the local community to help support the nunnery. This generates a bit of income for the nunnery but, so far the demand for tofu has  outstripped supply because the nuns’ had a limited capacity to make tofu due to the size of their tofu kitchen and the capacity of their tofu-making machine.

Here’s a video made in 2012 by the nuns showing tofu making at the nunnery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgygQy9SaOE&feature=share

It has been the nuns’ wish for several years to purchase a larger tofu machine and to have a new tofu kitchen so that tofu could be made and sold on a larger scale. There is a great demand for tofu from nearby communities so the income from tofu sales will help to support the nunnery.

The new facility for making tofu was built a while ago but the donor who had originally offered to provide a special tofu-making machine was unable to raise the necessary funds to purchase and ship the machine to India. So the project was delayed by almost two years.

We are delighted to tell you that this spring, Norman Steinberg, a generous donor from Canada, has helped fulfill the nuns’ long-term wish by funding the purchase of a much larger and more efficient tofu-making machine and by helping to establish a special tofu kitchen at the nunnery. We are extremely grateful for his support.

A big advantage of the recent donation is that it has allowed the Tibetan Nuns Project to purchase an Indian-made machine, so we’ve avoided the costly customs and shipping costs and it will also be easier to service and repair in the future.

Once the new machine is up and running and the tofu kitchen is firmly established, we’ll post another blog with photos.

Making tofu is somewhat similar to making cheese, but rather than curdling milk you are curdling soy milk. The first step in the process is to soak the dried soybeans and mix them with water to produce soy milk.

Tibetan Buddhist nun making tofu

Soybeans are being prepared in the old tofu kitchen at Dolma Ling Nunnery. This photo was taken in 2013 by Brian Harris.

Next the nuns add enzymes or acid to curdle the soybean liquid. Then they press the liquid to remove the liquid whey. Once there are just curds remaining they can be pressed into forms and cut into blocks.

The Tibetan Nuns Project is extremely grateful to Norman Steinberg and another private donor from Canada, as well as other individual donors from around the world who made the new tofu-making facility possible.

If you would like to learn more about how the nuns are moving towards greater self-sufficiency, or to help fund these efforts, please contact us at info@tnp.org or donate at https://tnp.org/youcanhelp/donate/.

Tibetan Buddhist nuns stirring to make tofu

Photo taken in 2013 by Brian Harris at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute in India