It is really hot! I’ve been trying to think of desserts I can make without having to use the oven. That being said….
In Taiwan, we had some really good food. One of those places with really good food was recommended to us by our Hualien-born friend, Ingrid. Thanks again, Ingrid, for all the food recs (all were amazing!). Cai Ji Dou Hua, also known by Ingrid+fam as ‘Ah Piao ShuShu’s’ (the name of the owner), is a dessert shop that serves goodies like grass jelly, tofu pudding, cooked pressed barley, along with add-ins like boba, sweetened red or mung beans, brown sugar syrup, whole milk, or condensed milk shaved ice. As I mention in this earlier post, this place was so good we returned the very next day, and in total had about 8 bowls of delicious desserts in 3 days 🙂
We loved the dou hua a lot, and when I was at Nan Men Market, I made sure to buy dou hua powder so I could make it at home when we returned to the US. The powder made some pretty good dou hua, but I noticed a slight bitter aftertaste to the dou hua, and thought maybe I was imagining things? A Chinese blogger confirmed my thoughts when she did a comparison of 3 dou hua powder brands; she also found the brand I used slightly bitter.
So, without access to Nan Men Market, no sightings of dou hua powder at the stores in Philly, and the determination to make dou hua at home, what’s a girl to do? Luckily my YTower Tofu cookbook had the answer!
What is this tofu pudding you speak of? Imagine if tofu had the smooth and creamy texture of a light flan, but the taste of soymilk; that’s how I would describe dou hua. There is a sugar syrup that the dou hua sits in; either a sweet ginger syrup, or brown sugar syrup. Then, there are endless numbers of toppings/accompaniments that can go with it..
Dou hua is made very similar to how tofu is made; hot soymilk plus gypsum and plant starch (in this case, sweet potato). Since marrying a Canto boy, I have learned that most Cantonese call dou hua ‘dau fu fa,’ (tofu flower), whereas all my life in the land of the mostly non-Cantonese (San Gabriel Valley), I’ve heard it as dou hua.
Anyway…here’s the recipe! If you haven’t gotten yourself a scale yet, please consider doing so, as it will revolutionize the way you measure out ingredients for baking 🙂
I made this dou hua to imitate what we ate in Taiwan
Makes 4 very generous servings (Tim sized), or 8 more modest servings
Dou hua powder
5 grams food grade gypsum
40 grams sweet potato starch
1000 grams soy milk, preferably homemade– please read the note below!
22 grams dou hua powder
50 grams water
Black sugar syrup
1/4 cup black sugar (hei tang) or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
Ginger sugar syrup
1/4 cup sugar (white, brown, or those golden-brown slabs they sell at Chinese/Asian markets. Though, those will be hard to measure out)
1/2 cup water
1″ chunk of ginger, thinly cut into several slices, or grated
1) Yuanzi or yu yuan (Glutinous rice balls or Taro balls)
2) Cooked boba
3) Cooked mung beans
4) Cooked red beans
5) Cooked skinned peanuts
6) Other goodies that float your boat..
1) First, get a large bowl that will fit the twice the volume of the soymilk and then some. If you don’t have a large bowl, you can also use a saucepan or stockpot. Make the dou hua powder by thoroughly mixing the gypsum and sweet potato starch together.
2) Next, heat your soymilk to almost boiling-but-not. While you wait, weigh out half of the dou hua powder (22 grams) into the large bowl or pot, and add 50 grams of water to it. Whisk well to dissolve all the bits.
3) Check on your soymilk – It needs to be at around 195F. If it’s already boiled, let it cool a little before moving on.
4) Whisk the dou hua powder + water mixture again, then in one fell swoop, dump the soymilk carefully into the large receptacle. Do not stir!!
5) After about 15 minutes, the pudding should be slightly jiggly. But, best to just leave it alone. Once it is cool enough to put in the fridge, transfer it to let it completely cool; it will continue to set up. I generally make the dou hua the day before I want to eat it. We eat it cold these days, but you can also heat it up if you want to eat it hot!
Black sugar syrup
1) Prepare the sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water in a pot until the sugar dissolves. You can also microwave the sugar and water for about 20 seconds, then stir. The syrup can be used hot, or you can cool it down first. Add whatever add-ins you wish, or just enjoy your dou hua with the sugar syrup.
Ginger sugar syrup
1) Add sugar, water, and ginger to a pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, or until the syrup is gingery enough for you.
2) Strain the ginger pieces out.
-If you want less concentrated versions of these syrups, to make a ‘soup’ for your dou hua, add about 2 times the amount of water indicated.
-Gypsum…what?! Buy this FOOD GRADE gypsum powder at home brewing stores, Amazon.com, MySpiceSage,com , or if you are bold, your local Asian grocery store. Often times, the specifications/labelling can be a bit dodgy/questionable on the imported Asian goods, so just proceed with caution.
-On soy milk: I am guessing that 99% of you would buy the soymilk for this. In which case…YOU MUST NOT USE brands of soymilk that have additives- e.g. Silk, Seventh Generation…etc! These have thickening agents and other additives that will mess with the composition of the dou hua. Read the label, and only use soymilk that only has soybeans and water in the ingredients.
-How much of the toppings do I need? Up to you. For me, I want to keep dou hua the star of the dish, so I don’t add tooo much. For beans, you can start with 50-75 grams of raw beans to cook.