Tao Huay (豆花)

by Xinyu on 20th Dec, 2012

Posted by
chinese soy bean dessert

The festive season is upon us, which means lots of cooking and eating but not enough time to write blog posts! Here's a quick recipe for today; hopefully we'll have a few better ones from our various Christmas dinners next week.
Tao huay (aka 豆花) is a popular Chinese dessert which is like a very soft version of tofu. Essentially, it is tofu that has not been pressed, and is thus pudding-like in texture and consistency. Its not too hard to make at home, although if you live in Singapore its far easier to just go to the nearest hawker centre to get your fix.

Tao Huay (豆花)

  • 100g dried soy beans
  • 600ml + 2 1/2 tsp water
  • 1/3 tsp GDL (available at Phoon Huat in Singapore)
  • 2/3 tsp corn starch
100g dried soy beans
['dried soy beans']
600ml + 2 1/2 tsp water
1/3 tsp GDL (available at Phoon Huat in Singapore)
2/3 tsp corn starch
['corn starch']

Soak the dried soy beans in water overnight, till they hydrate and become soft. Alternatively if you're short for time, I've found that simmering them in water for around 30 minutes works too; there might be some change in flavour though.

Place a sieve on top of a bowl, and a large piece of cheesecloth into the sieve.

Finely blend the soy beans with some of the water. Pour the resultant slurry into the cheesecloth/sieve, letting the liquid (which is uncooked soy milk) filter through. Gather up the cheesecloth by the edges, so you end up with a ball of the remaining blended soy beans trapped with the cheesecloth. Squeeze this tightly to extract as much liquid as you can out of it. This can be repeated several times by placing the leftover bean mush in the cheesecloth back into the blender, and then adding more water. If your blender isn't big enough, you can do this in multiple batches too.

When as much soy milk as possible has been extracted, pour the soy milk into a pot and heat till it just starts to boil. Lower the heat and cook till there is no more "beany" taste in the liquid; it should taste like unsweetened soy milk. At this stage some people might add pandan leaves for fragrance too.

Note that soy beans contain lecithin, which acts as a foaming agent, and so the boiling soy milk is likely to foam quite dramatically if you don't stir frequently and keep watch over the temperature.

Add the cornstarch and GDL into a small bowl, and add 2 1/2 tsp of water. Stir this thoroughly, then pour into the container you want to set the tao huay in.

When the soy milk is ready, let its temperature drop to around 90°C, and then pour it into the container in one fast gush. This is necessary as the GDL needs to mix with the soy milk, and the pouring action is the only chance you get to integrate the two.

Leave the container for around 1-2 hours, till the soy milk fully coagulates to form tao huay. Try not to move the container during this period as the milk might not curdle smoothly.

Serve by scooping into bowls and ladling sugar syrup or sweetened soy milk.

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