Make this soft, wobbly, and smooth Chinese-style tau foo fah from soybean milk (or any milk) with 5 ingredients only without using any chemicals and served with delicious ginger syrup.
Tau foo fah in Cantonese or dou hua in Mandarin or tau huay in Hokkien or Kembang Tahu Jahe in Indonesian language, is one of my favorite childhood desserts/snacks. The version I grew up with was the sweet version. I’ve heard about the savory version, but never had it before. My mom used to purchase this from the market and I simply love how wobbly and incredibly soft the dou hua is. The seller usually has a special large wide round and almost flat spatula that is quite sharp to “cut” through and scoop the dou hua into a serving bowl. So you can see the dou hua layer by layer in the bowl. I don’t have that special spatula to cut, so mine doesn’t look as nice, but the dou hua still tastes heavenly.
You only need 3 ingredients to make this dou hua : Plain unsweetened soybean milk, agar agar powder or gelatin powder, vanilla extract.
For the ginger syrup: fresh ginger, brown/white sugar, water.
WHY YOU WILL LIKE THIS TAU FOO FAH RECIPE
1. NO CHEMICALS
Traditional tau foo fah is made by boiling the soybean milk and then GDL or gypsum powder is added to help the soybean coagulate into a pudding-like texture. This recipe doesn’t use that and only utilize the good ol’ agar agar powder or gelatin powder
2. EASY AND CONVENIENT RECIPE
You don’t have to make the soybean milk from scratch. You can if you want to. I use organic unsweetened soybean milk and it turned out just as good and so much less work for real
3. HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE
You can use other types of nut milk or dairy with this recipe. I have tried with almond milk, cashew milk, and regular cow’s milk and they work just great. You can even adjust the texture of the dou hua by adjusting the amount of agar agar to use in this recipe
With that said, are you ready to make some tau foo fah? 😉
HOW TO MAKE GINGER SYRUP FOR TAU FOO FAH
Place everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the ginger slices sit in there to release more flavor. Prepare the day before and the aroma of the ginger will be more intense if you like that.
HOW TO MAKE TAU FOO FAH WITH AGAR AGAR POWDER
1. MIX SOYBEAN MILK WITH AGAR AGAR POWDER
Stir to mix until you no longer see the agar agar powder lumps.
2. BOIL THE SOYBEAN MILK
Boil it over high heat while keep stirring at the same time. The soybean milk might catch at the bottom and get burnt if you stop stirring.
Once it has comes to a boil, lower the heat and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Make sure the agar agar powder has dissolved (it should be). Stir in the vanilla extract.
3. STRAIN THE MIXTURE
Remove from the heat and strain into another pot or container . Let it cool down at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes
4. CHILL THE TAU FOO FAH
Then cover with a cling wrap, try not to touch the surface and carefully transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. I recommend 4 hours for a better texture. You can chill it overnight too. Once it sets, it should have nicely coagulated, but jiggly when you gently shake it. That’s the right texture.
ADJUST THE TEXTURE OF TAU FOO FAH
You can adjust the texture of the tau foo fah by adjusting the amount of agar agar powder.
Use 1/2 tsp agar agar powder: for super softer texture. My husband said it’s too soft but my mom likes the texture
Use 3/4 tsp agar agar powder (which I use in this recipe): for soft texture. My husband said it’s perfect. My mom said it’s almost perfect 🙂
Use 1 tsp agar agar powder: for a firmer texture. I think this is a bit too firm for our taste, but you may like it
HOW TO SERVE TAU FOO FAH
1. THINLY SLICE THE TOFU
There’s a special flat sharp spatula that they use to thinly slice the bean curd pudding into serving bowl. I don’t have it. I just use regular spoon.
2. SPOON OVER THE GINGER SYRUP
Add a few spoonfuls of ginger syrup on the tau foo fah
What do you think? It’s not that bad right? 🙂 I like how convenient it is to make. If you are all hardcore and want to make your own soybean milk you certainly can.
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DID YOU MAKE THIS EASY TAU FOO FAH RECIPE?
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Instruction for making dou hua with gelatin powder is added on April 20, 2022.
Dou Hua /Tau Foo Fah (Soybean Pudding-using agar agar or gelatin)
- 750 ml unsweetened plain soymilk or other type of milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
If using agar agar:
- ¾ tsp agar agar powder see notes
If using gelatin powder:
- 1 tsp gelatin powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar or you can use white sugar, but adjust the amount to 1/2 cup or to your taste as it is sweeter
- 1 inch knob of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
Prepare the ginger syrup (best to prepare the day before):
- Place everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then lower the heat to let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the ginger slices sit in there to release more flavor. I like to prepare this the day before I plan to serve and discard the ginger on that day. The syrup will have more aroma from the ginger
If using agar agar:
- Put all ingredients for pudding, except for vanilla extract, in a large pot over medium-high heat. Continue to stir and make sure you don't let the bottom of the pot catches the soymilk and burn. Once it has comes to a boil, lower the heat and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Make sure the agar agar powder has dissolved (it should be) and you don't see anymore specks. If the agar agar doesn't dissolves, the pudding won't set properly when you chill it. Stir in the vanilla extract
- Remove from the heat and strain into another container. Use a spoon to gently scoop up the froth/bubbles so the surface of the dou hua will be smooth later. Let it cool down at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes and then proceed to chilling
If using gelatin:
- Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of milk and let it bloom for 5 minutes. While waiting, add the rest of the milk to a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer and then turn off the heat. Let it cool down to just warm. Stir in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until dissolved
- Gently pour this into a large container. Remove the bubbles by using a strainer. Let it cool down at room temperature and then proceed to chilling
- Cover with a cling wrap, carefully not to touch the surface and transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.You can chill it overnight too. Once it sets, it should have nicely coagulated, but wobbly when you gently shake it. That's the right texture
- There's a special flat sharp spatula that they use to thinly slice the bean curd pudding into serving bowl. I don't have it. I just use regular spoon and serve with few spoonfuls of ginger syrup on the tau foo fah
- Since this is made with agar agar powder, try not to keep the tau foo fah longer than 3 days in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more watery it will get. Definitely do not recommend freezing
For a firmer texture, you can use 1 tsp of agar agar powder
I made this with 1 tsp agar, and it was delicious. One thing was that the soy milk got frothy with all the stirring when it was cooking, and as a result the tofu was not homogeneous. Any tips?
Hi Misty, you can use a spoon to gently scoop up the froth/bubbles so the surface will be smooth.
Hi, I might not have simmered it long enough. It has not coagulated after 5hrs. What can I do with this batch? Can it be repeated?
Hi, when you cook the agar agar, you want to make sure that it really dissolves (no longer grainy) otherwise, it won’t set. Even after it has come to a boil, lower the heat and cook a bit longer and make sure you don’t see anymore specks of agar agar in the liquid. You can probably try to simmer it again and see if it helps.
Mine turn out upper top I see that it sets but when I slice and the middle seemed to be breaking apart is it because I never let it set long enough? I put in fridge around 2 hours.
You can try to chill a bit longer, but you also want to make sure that the agar agar really fully dissolves when you cook it. Otherwise, the pudding won’t set properly
Hi! I recently tried your banana cake recipe and my whole family loved it! I’m looking to try this one next! This recipe is the solution to satisfy my tofu fa craving! The only thing is I don’t have agar agar on hand, would I be able to substitute it with gelatin?
Hi Jenn, I’m glad you like the banana cake 🙂 Hmm….substituting with gelatin may not give the same texture. I haven’t tried this myself. Agar agar is more “powerful” in gelling things compared to gelatin. So, if you really want to try with gelatin, may be you can try double the amount of agar agar.
So I managed to get my hands on some agar agar! But I only have sweetened soy milk at home…would that affect the final texture of the tofu fa?
Hi Jenn, the sweetened soy milk should affect the texture of the tofu fa. I hope it turns out for you 🙂
Can you microwave the tofu fa to heat it up?
Hi Katelyn, absolutely. Probably for 10 seconds or so or until warm
What kind of agar2 powder are you using? Is it the swallow globe one?
Hi CT, yes I used the swallow globe one. But you should be able to use other brands too.
Thanks for this simplest recipe, i loveee the shortcut idea!! And it turns out the taste is very similar to Abang2-keliling-kembang-tahu version 🙂 i am now can easily made it while away from home (Jakarta) *happydance
Hi Lydia, Me too! I miss the abang2 version but really can’t be bothered to do my own soymilk and the whole nine yards LOL! I’m glad you like the recipe! *high five*
Would this be the same the recipe to use for hot tau foo fah, like how they serve it at dim sum restaurants? Thanks.
Hi Grace, it should be the same recipe you can use for hot tau foo fah. Hope it helps!
Thank you for this! I made a similar version of this last night, but I couldn’t figure out how to make a syrup for it. I’ve never had it with a ginger flavored syrup. It sounds really good. I also could not remember what this dessert was called in Chinese, but thanks to you, now I remember!
Hi Karen, I’m glad that my post helped you remember 🙂 I gotta have the ginger flavored syrup to go with tau foo fah 🙂 It’s a classic.