How To Make Tofu Pudding (Taufu Fa)

Taufu Fa (ie. Tofu Pudding) is a simple Chinese dessert (usually served warm) that’s a favourite of many Malaysians. It wasn’t until fairly recently though, that I started making it from scratch at home, and I’ve found it to be pretty easy and quick to do. It’s also “accidentally vegan” – in other words, without needing any tweaking or compromises – which, to me, is the best form of vegan.

The version of taufu fa that I grew up loving was served with a white (or rock) sugar and ginger syrup – ie. what you would find in Sydney’s Chinatown and in places like Hong Kong. I was somewhat surprised on a trip back to Malaysia to find it served with a palm sugar (gula melaka) syrup. I learned afterwards that’s par for the course – I’m not entirely sure if that’s a post-Jackie M-Australian migration-development (ie. of the last 35 years) or if I just never came across it with palm sugar while growing up in my corner of Malaysia.

The traditional or commercial way of making tofu pudding is through the use of gypsum powder, which you can find at a good Asian grocery store (here in Sydney, anyway). My couple of attempts with gypsum were failures, so instead, I’ve been using GDL – glucono-delta-lactone – which I found and bought on Ebay.

A couple of noteworthy points regarding this recipe –

  • don’t yield to the temptation of using too much GDL – a little goes a looooong way – or your tofu pudding will end up tasting sour.
  • I don’t soak the soy beans before use, because I generally have neither the foresight to plan what I’m going to cook 8 hours ahead, nor the patience to wait that long in between cooking steps.

TOFU PUDDING (TAUFU FA)

INGREDIENTS:

120g soy beans

1.3L cold water

1/2 tsp GDL

3 tsps cornstarch or tapioca starch

Syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 slices ginger

You’ll also need –

  • a decent blender (I use a Thermomix)
  • 2 muslin bags
  • a container or pot with lid as pudding mould
  • a clean tea towel

METHOD:

  1. Combine half the water with the soy beans, blend on high speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Place muslin bag (double-layered) over a bowl. Pour contents into it and strain.
  3. Transfer the crushed soy beans back into the blender.
  4. Add remaining water and blend on high speed a further 30 seconds.
  5. Pour into muslin bag and strain again. Save the crushed soy beans for my upcoming Vegan Cucur Badak (savoury fried sweet potato dumplings with spicy filling) recipe.
  6. Take out 1/4 cup of the soy milk and mix it with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  7. Heat the soy milk to just under boiling point (95-98’C) (I do this in the Thermomix because I can set the cooking temperature).
  8. Stir the cornstarch/water mixture again (it will have settled while you’re heating up the soy milk), then lightly stir the GDL into it.
  9. Pour the cornstarch/water/GDL mixture into the tofu pudding mould/container/pot.
  10. Pour the hot-but-not-quite-boiling soy milk into the mould.
    Stir it in one direction, once.
  11. Place tea towel over the mould, then cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
  12. To make the syrup, combine sugar with water and ginger. Bring to a boil, simmer until all sugar is dissolved and it’s the consistency of a thin syrup.
  13. To serve, use a metal spoon or ladle to scoop thin layers of pudding into a bowl, then top with syrup.

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