Hopscotch’s chef Kyle Itani is from two strong traditions of Japanese and Italian-Sicilian ethnicities. He worked at Yoshi’s, lived in Japan and also put some hours in at the popular Meatball Shop in New York as well as other places. We asked him what he was going to be doing for Thanksgiving and what he was going to cook.

I’ll be spending Thanksgiving this year with the Japanese side of my family. My 2nd cousin, who is hosting, is a vegetarian and my other cousins were telling me how every year she makes herself a little tofurkey that she buys at some grocery store and is the only one that eats it. This year, in addition to bringing the real turkey,

I’m going to surprise her with her own tofurkey, but done from scratch with a very traditional Japanese method.

I bought an 8 inch mold for chocolate that is in the shape of a turkey and I’m going to set the curds in this mold.

I’m garnishing the tofurkey with grated ginger, a beautifully rich tamari soy sauce, julienne norii seaweed and green onions. It will be served cold, but will be the best tofurkey in the history of tofurkey.


Here is my recipe:

1 cup Dry Soy Beans

8 1/2 cups filtered water

2 tsp Nigari (seaweed based coagulant)



Grated Ginger

Sliced Green Onions

Kizami Nori

Tamari Shoyu



Soak the soy beans 4 cups of Filtered Water overnight at room temp

Drain the beans, discard the water.

Put Beans in Blender with 4 cups of filtered water.

Strain into a pot and simmer for 20 minutes, scraping off the film (yuba) that forms as necessary.

Remove from heat and strain once more into a fresh pot and let cool to 180F.

Dissolve 2 tsp Nigari in 1/2 cup of cold filtered water.

When the soy milk cools down to 180F, add into the soy milk and gently stir to combine.

Let sit undisturbed about 15 minutes.

Pour into a colander lined with cheese cloth. Gently press the excess water out of the curds.

Scoop the curds into the turkey mold and weigh down the curds. Put in the fridge until the tofu is fully chilled.

Turn the mold upside down on a platter and gently remove.

I’m serving all of the garnishes on the side so the guests can add them as they please.


What are you making for your Thanksgiving? Share in the comments!

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One Response

  1. howard-d

    This is a great receipe and its also Gluten Free, unlike commercial Tofurky!

    If you making this dish… or are just looking for a Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck to go to, then consider the annual Veg*n Potluck in Berkeley at 1606 Bonita, near Cedar. Its at 4 pm and open to those who bring prepared vegan food items to share — the organizers provide the bevs.


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