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.
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.
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.
There 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.
Gypsum 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.
Then 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.
Don’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.
The 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.
To 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.
After 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.