A popular and addictive Chinese dessert - Chinese Almond tofu. With this tutorial, you can make this fabulous dessert at home.
What's Almond tofu
Almond tofu is a common and popular Chinese dessert in hot summer. It can be considered the Chinese version of panna cotta. However Chinese almond tofu is healthier since there is no heavy cream included. Almond tofu in Chinese is 杏仁豆腐 (xing ren tou fu). It is a popular dessert in many provinces, especially in Hong Kong and Beijing. It is also referred to as almond jelly The recipe differs slightly from places in China.
Almond or Sweet Apricot seeds
One of the interesting facts is almond tofu is not made from common almonds but sweet apricot seeds (which are named “南杏仁” or "甜杏仁" in Chinese). Almond tofu is the ideal dessert for summer because it is super beneficial to the lungs. It is also widely loved because of the melt in the mouth texture. Apricot seeds are slightly poisonous especially bitter apricot seeds. So just a caution: don't eat raw bitter apricot seeds too much each time.
About the coagulator
Traditional almond tofu using agar agar as a coagulator. Agar agar has several different flavors from regular dessert coagulators- Gelatine.
- texture, agar can creates a fragile texture but not only smooth. However, dessert with gelatine only has a smooth texture both inside and outside. For a better understanding, the agar agar dessert can form a fragile cross section, not very smooth and with some climbs.
- different melting temperatures and firming temperatures. Gelatine should be mixed in a mixture of around (50 to 70 degrees C) while agar agar should be cooked in hot boiling water.
If agar agar is used
Agar agar must be cooked in hot boiling water first since it has a high melting temperature. Sugar should be added after the agar melts since it influences the melting.
Compared with gelatine, agar has an unbelievably strong capacity of firming so don't use too much. The idea weight ration should be around 1:18 or 1:20. If too much agar agar added, the dessert can be quite hard and lose the lovely texture. I use around 5 cups of liquid this time and 6g agar strips, creating a very tender texture. Agar is quite hard to measure because of its shape and a smart way of measuring is to measure with water. Wrap the agar strips into small bundles and then place them in water. See how tender the dessert is. In order to make it vegan-friendly, you can replace milk with soy milk.
How to serve
Serving is always the best part for desserts. I introduce several commonly serving ways and please go ahead and find your own option.
- Serve with osmanthus syrup. This is the most traditional way and the most lovely way! I highly recommend trying this once as it is the best combination.
- Serve with fruits. Recommend adding canned fruits and fresh fruits together.
- Serve with matcha powder or toasted nuts.
Sweet Apricot kernel milk | Soak the sweet apricot kernel with clean water overnight. Remember to place it in the fridge. Transfer the soaked apricot kernel into a blender, then followed by 2 cups of water. Blend well. Drain to get the milk. Don't discard the pulp, sun dry it and use it in cookies.
Agar Soaking| Soak agar agar strips in cold water for 1 hour. If you use agar powder, there is no need to soak them. Just follow the next step.
Cooking Agar| In a small pot, add 1 cup of water and soaked agar, heating to boiling until the agar strips are almost dissolved! This may take more than 10 minutes, be patient.
Combine Mixture | Add sugar and apricot milk, and simmer for another 5-8 minutes. Turn off fire and pour in milk. Combine well.
Straining | Strain the mixture once again. The agar is quite hard to dissolve completely, make sure they are removed. You can use a pudding container, bowl or a large container. Set aside for cooling. The dessert can be firmed under room temperature when the temperature of the liquid drops to 40 degrees C. Then either served directly or chilled before serving.
I make 4 small bowls and 1 large rectangle container. 8 portions in total.
Chinese Almond Tofu
- ½ cup sweet apricot Kernel , pre-soaked in the previous day in fridge
- 2 cups water for apricot seed milk
- 2 cups milk
- 6-7 g agar agar , I use strips this time, note 1
- 1 cup water , for cooking the agar
- ¼ cup crystal sugar , can create a very faint sweetness, or more if needed (adjust based on how the dessert is served)
Serving with sweet-scented osmanthus
- 1 tbsp. osmanthus syrup
- 1 cup hot water
- Apricot Kernel milk | Soak the sweet apricot kernel with clean water overnight. Remember to place in fridge. Transfer the soaked apricot kernel into blender, then followed with 2 cups of water. Blend well. Drain to get the milk. Don't discard the pulp, sun dry it and use in cookies.
- Agar Soaking| Soak agar agar strips in cold water for 1 hour.
- Cooking Agar| In a small pot, add 1 cup of water and soaked agar, heating to boiling until the agar strips are almost dissolved! This may take more than 10 minutes, be patient.
- Combine Mixture | Add sugar and apricot kernel milk, simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Turn off fire and pour in milk. Combine well.
- Straining | Strain the mixture once again. The agar is quite hard to dissolve completely, make sure they are removed. You can use pudding container, bowl or a large container. Set aside for cooling. The dessert can be firmed under room temperature when the temperature of the liquid drops to 40 degree C. Then either served directly or chilled before serving.
- Serving| 1. Add canned fruits or fresh fruits 2. Pour 1 cup of hot water to 1 tablespoon of osmanthus syrup. Set aside to cool. 3. Shifting matcha powder
Hi Elaine, I don't have apricot kernels in my country, can I exchange it with almond extract?
Yes. Sure. But it tastes slightly different.
Hi! I just came across your recipe for almond tofu, my favorite! Question: instead of regular milk, can I use almond milk at the end? Also, whenever we order almond tofu at the restaurant, they always come in some kind of sugar syrup. Is it just plain simple syrup?
You can use almond milk for sure. Pour almond milk gives a stronger flavor. Restaurants have their own syrup may be ginger syrup or sweet-scented osmanthus syrup.
I used this recipe the other day and it turned out wonderfully! Will be using it again in the future 🙂
Thanks Ridley. Once mastered the way of making the basic jelly, you can try to find your own serving way with various types of fruits.
hello! i tried making my own annin tofu but it ended up tasting far too strongly of the apricot kernels. i noticed the kernels in the pictures don't have the brown skin on them--should i scrub it off next time i make it or does it make much of a difference?
i am transitioning to Vegan. I won't use soy and I am avoiding milk...Would Almond milk or coconut milk work in place of the regular milk for this recipe? What would you recommend on this? Thank you in advance 🙂
You can use 100% almond milk or you can add some coconut milk. Both of them should work fine.
Hi Elaine, I don’t have agar agar strips and wish to use agar agar powder. M at I know how much powder to use for this recipe?
If you plan to use agar agar powder, 6g should be a great amount.