Sweet Soy Pudding (Tou Foo Fa)


Tou Foo Fa or Douhua (in Mandarin), is a soft and tofu dessert. Tou Foo Fa is made by coagulating soy milk into curds. Tou Foo Fa is usually served warm in sweet syrup but many people also like it chilled.

When I grew up in Malaysia, it was a very common hawker food where the vendors walk from house to house screaming “Tou — Fooo — Faaa — Tou — Jeong — Sui”. We look forward to this which they usual come around in the afternoon. These days no one sells it this way anymore. It was quite common that this pudding is made in a big wooden barrel.

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In Canada, you may find Tou Foo Fa only in specialty tofu stores. However, the more common soy milk can be found in many groceries stores like Safeway, the Superstore, and Save-On-Food. I learned how to make Tou Foo Fa from soymilk from a friend in a home bible study group and have since made Tou Foo Fa for the family. Arkensen is a great fan of Tou Foo Fa. He enjoys it cold.

The biggest challenge in making Tou Foo Fa is that almost all steps must be followed correctly or else it would turn out too watery. Tou Foo Fa is supposed to be soft and smooth like puddings.

Ingredients
  • 1 litre of sweetened soy milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons of gypsum powder (熟石膏粉)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of hot water

The above ingredients is sufficient to make servings for four.

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Instructions

IMG_3788_edited-1There are two types of soy milk — the normal unsweetened ones and ones that are sweetened. I prefer the sweetened ones. You need to first boil 1 litre of sweetened soy milk. To this, I use a claypot instead of the normal metal cooking pot. Soy milk burns easily and using claypot will help regulate the heat better and prevent burning.
IMG_3793_edited-1Gypsum powder is what coagulate the soy milk into pudding. You can buy them from chinese grocery stores. I measure 1.5 teaspoon of gypsum powder into a small bowl, where I use to mix other ingredients too.

You need to then dissolve the gypsum powder. You need to dissolve it in HOT water … just a tablespoon will do. Stir until the gypsum powder is fully dissolved.

Once dissolved, this will look very “pasty” and thick.

IMG_3796_edited-1Then I add 1.5 teaspoon of cornstarch into the gypsum paste.

The paste has to be mixed well. Take your time and mix it really well. Cornstarch is generally used as a thickening agent.

IMG_3801_edited-1Don’t be surprised that this is not a lot of paste but it is sufficient to make full dish of Tou Foo Fa. I then poured the paste into the middle of the dish which I’m going to use to coagulate the soy milk.
IMG_3805_edited-1The soy milk has to come to a rolling boil before it can be mixed with the gypsum paste. Make sure that you remove the soy milk from the stove once you see the boling starts. Otherwise, you will end up leaving a burning taste on your Tou Foo Fa.

You should pour the boiling soy milk vigorously into the prepared dish — don’t pour in slowly. This is to ensure that the the paste is mixed well with the soy milk.

IMG_3806_edited-1To ensure that the paste is well mixed, I gave it a QUICK stir — like a swirl or two, not more. You then need to set the dish aside to coagulate. Do not move or touch the dish once the coagulating process started, otherwise the pudding will not form into a firm, soft and smooth pudding.
IMG_3812_edited-1After an hour when the pudding is firmed up and cooled, it’s ready to be served. If you like it chilled, you may leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop the pudding into a bowl gently with a shallow spoon so that the pudding is not mashed up.

You may add a tablespoon or two of syrup to the pudding to add a touch of sweetness. Making the syrup is very simple. I’ll do a quick blog on making the syrup in the next posting.

Making this takes a lot of trial and error. I tried it many, many times unsuccessfully but I think I have figured out how to make it consistently well. Don’t give up — it’s very simple and quick to make. It’s also a healthy dessert.

78 thoughts on “Sweet Soy Pudding (Tou Foo Fa)

  1. We live in a tiny town in rural Australia, used to have this sweet bean curd in Sydney at Dim Sum. So excited to have a recipe and can’t wait to try it. Cheers!

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  3. Great recipe! I use agar agar powder, approximately 3/4 teaspoon with one litre of soy milk. I also add 2 tablespoons of vanilla essence and a bit of sugar. You do need to simmer the milk with the a.a. powder for at least 10 – 15 minutes for it to work.

  4. WOW, that sounds good! I’m so excited about trying it. I have been lactsoe intolerant for 20 years and really miss eating pudding, ice cream, cheese, just milk products period. I drink Silk soy milk and will have to find the gypsum maybe at my local earth store. You’ll be hearing from me again!

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  6. hi,i live in spain and cant find gypsum powder, so i made my tou foo fa with nigari and it turns out so bad its like spoiled milk.please help me how to use the nigari, or where can i find gypsum powder here…thanks

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    • Hi Karen, I got mine from Great One Supermarket on Park Road in Richmond. You can check with any Chinese Herbal Store which I think will carry it. The Chinese name of gypsum powder is 熟石膏粉.

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  10. Hello? Need your opinion. I tried the tou-foo fa recipe. The only thing I did differently was I “boiled” the gypsum paste in the microwave oven for 10 minutes, because the instruction on the package warned that the gypsum had to be heated past boiling for 10 minutes. The result was the soy milk coagulated,but not into a smooth mass; looked more like “curdled” milk. Does the gypsum have to be heated as the manufacturer warns?

    • Hi Cristina, I did not heat the gypsum solution as I’m using just 1 teaspoon of it. I dissolved it in 1 tablespoon of hot water and let cool before I added the cornstarch. It’s too little liquid to heat it past boiling for 10 minutes.

    • Hi seygra20, I bought powdered gypsum from Chinese groceries store, especially those which also carries Chinese herbs. I do not know what can be substituted for this recipe. The closest is gelatin but the texture will be different, i.e. more like jello.

      • thanks bt i found out that the gypsum also called calcium sulfate bt havent tried it as yet

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  12. Dear Suanne, I just emailed Ben before realizing you can post comments on this thing! I came upon your site while trying to find some “tong sui” recipes similiar to what my dad made when I was living at home in San Jose, CA – consisting of yams, rock sugar and ginger. Anyway, I saw this recipe and just have to try it! I’ve always ordered it when eating dim sum at chinese restaurants back in the day. I’ve since moved to Richmond, VA and the chinese cuisine is scarce. Anyway, hopefully I can find gypsum powder at the best stocked asian grocery around here (which isn’t saying much) but my real question… I couldn’t find your recipe for the syrup? Could you please email this to me? Keep up the good work!

  13. im gonna try to make the plain version of this tofu pudding soonest. i used to eat them as breakfast with sweet ginger syrup. thanks for the recipe.

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  15. Hi Suanne,
    Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family! After much searching I finally got my hands on some gypsum and tried this recipe. It was so good. This is the 5th recipe I’ve tried from your site and they’ve all been great hits at home. Thank you so much for sharing the recipes and the tips. They’ve really helped a beginner like me. :)

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