Melt-in-mouth douhua can be super comforting when served as breakfast. Learn how to make tofu pudding with GDL(葡萄糖内脂 at home.
Douhua is also known as Tofu pudding or douhua, sometimes also known as Tao Fu Hua (豆腐脑 or 豆腐花) is the most controversial food in China. It is quite neutral and can be matched both with sweet tastes and savory tastes. For me, it can be matched with everything. We get so many options and people have totally different ideas about how to turn their tofu pudding into something extremely delicious for their special stomach. Let's learn how to make a perfect tofu pudding at home with GDL and then start the journey of shaping your best options.
Douhua can be either served as a sweet dessert or a savory snack. The two versions are included in this post.
However, douhua in the Sichuan area has a different name. The Sichuan-style douhua is a slightly pressed version usually made with Gypsum and served with a hot dipping sauce.
The savory version: in Northern China, a gravy (in Chinese, we call this "打卤")including wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots (in spring), and eggs are used to give it a savory taste. However, the situation is totally different in Southern China.
The sweet version: In Guangdong, the syrup is used to load the tofu pudding with a sweet taste and stimulate the original flavors and aroma of soybeans. In other milled provinces including Hubei and Wuhan, they mix tofu pudding directly with sugar. Simple and quick.
The hot version: Another totally different version, a very unique one is from Sichuan province. We call doufunao (豆腐脑) where tofu pudding is seasoned with chili oil and lots of other aromatics. In the Sichuan area, this spicy tofu pudding is always sold along with Sichuan-style cold noodles in summer or dan noodles in winter. This is a very special version. For all Sichuan food lovers, this is a must trying dish.
In the Taiwan area, tofu pudding is usually served with other dessert ingredients including sweetened red beans, boba pearls, grass jelly, or taro balls. Served as a side sweet dish to regular meals.
In the making of this video, my husband and I had quite an argument - he was adamant that only sweet versions should be included. But with your patience, we can make sure you get all the info necessary to craft a version perfect for you!
About the coagulant
Soybeans, water, and coagulant are all we need to make silky tofu pudding at home. Soy milk can coagulate with the help of an alkaline substance (Gypsum Powder 石膏粉) or acidic material (vinegar or lemon juice). There are actually also several other options working as coagulant agents for example Agar Agar powder (similar to Gelation powder). Agar Agar powder is mainly used for almond tofu in China. Now there is a new version using GDL(葡萄糖内脂). It helps to create a very soft and tender tofu pudding compared with vinegar and traditional Gypsum.
How long to boil the soy milk?
Soy milk should be boiled for a minimum of 15 minutes. Uncooked soy milk is harmful to our health. But watch out for the fire carefully, it overflows quickly.
- No thermometer by hand, let the soy milk cool down for about 2-3 minutes. The temperature should be in the right range.
- Do not move the soy milk after the GDL is added. On cold winter days, cover the pot to remain the temperature.
- You can add your favorite ingredients to douhua. Look forward to your creations.
- Wash the soybeans and then soak the soybeans overnight until softened. Transfer to a blender and add water. Blend until very smooth.
- Whisk GDL with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bow.
- Place gauze on a strainer and then strain the soy milk. Bring the soy milk to a boil. Watch carefully since it overflows easily. Skin off the bubbles on the surface. Remove from heat and rest for 2 minutes until the temperature drops around 80 degrees C to 90 degrees C.
- Gently stir the GDL water in the soy milk. Then rest for 15 to 20 minutes until firm.
Douhua -Tofu Pudding
- 1 cup soy beans
- 1500 ml water
- 3 g GDL , around 1 tablespoon (no sweeping)
- sugar to taste
Brown sugar syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 thumb piece ginger , peeled and shredded
Sichuan hot Style for each serving
- 1 tsp. chili oil
- 1 tsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. chopped Zhai Cai
- 1 tbsp. ginger and garlic water
- chopped scallion and coriander to taste
- 1 tbsp. cooking oil
- 50g pork belly
- 1 thumb ginger , cut into small shreds
- 1 clove garlic , shredded
- 10 hydrated wood ear mushroom , cut into small shreds
- 2 fresh shiitake mushroom , cut into slices
- 4 oyster mushrooms , thinly sliced and then shredded
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch , whisked with 2 tablespoons of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- salt if necessary , note 1
How to make tofu pudding| Tao Fu Hua
- Wash the soy beans and then soak the soy beans overnight until softened. Transfer to a blender and add water. Blend until very smooth.
- Place a gauze on a strainer and then strain the soy milk. Bring the soy milk to a boil. Watch carefully since it overflows easily. Skin off the bubbles on the surface. Remove from heat and rest for 2 minutes until the temperature drops around 80 degree C to 90 degree C.
- Whisk GDL with water in a small bowl (read the instructions on the package for the detailed amount). Gently stir the GDL water in the soy milk. Then rest for 15 to 20 minutes until firms.
How to serve| Sweet version
- Option 1: Serve with white sugar directly
- Option 2: Simmer brown sugar with ginger slices for 5 minutes and drizzle the syrup with tofu pudding.
How to serve |Northern Version
- Add some oil in pan and fry pork belly until slightly browned. Add wood ear mushroom, oyster mushroom and shiitake mushroom. Fry until soft.
- Add around 2 cups of water, soy sauce (dark soy sauce and light soy sauce). Place cornstarch water in and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the sauce is almost thickened.
- Drizzle egg liquid in. Continue cooking until well combined. Add salt if necessary. Top the gravy with tofu pudding.
How to serve |Sichuan Style
- To make ginger and garlic water | add ½ cup hot water into 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. Set until cool down.
- Fry soaked soy beans with cold oil until golden brown. You can simply replace this with toasted peanuts or other crispy nuts.
- How to assemble| add chopped Zha Cai, light soy sauce, chili oil, garlic ginger water, spring onion and coriander. Serve hot.
Thank you for this recipe! I love douhua (both savory and sweet versions), great to have it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, too.
That's really a comfort food, David. Enjoy!
I couldn't find GDL in the shops, is there anything else i can replace GDL? is Agar agar the same?
You can use Gelatine as a substitute. Agar Agar can work too.
I use gypsum!
Thank you for the recipe. I have two quesitons:
1) I see in your recipe that you ask for 1 tbsp of gdl but in one of your picture you used a 1/2 tsp spoon. Could you see which one is correct?
2) is there a technique in stirring in the gdl solution? I tried dumping it all in and stirring but the douhua coagulated too quickly and the resulting flavor is very sour.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I get a collection of the spoons and just place the smaller one in the bowl. You still need 1 tablespoon of GDL.
Gently stir the gdl in. No special technique needed. But make sure the content is well mixed.
Ok thank you!
I find it interesting that you strain the soy milk before cooking it. When I make soy milk, I cook it first, then strain it! (Then cook it again.) I like your way. You don't burn your fingers!
That's a really interesting. It is our traditional way to strain the soy milk before cooking because too many pulp inside the soy milk may cause burnt bottom when heating. And yes, finger is another reason.
In your instructions under the pictures, you write "Whisk GDL with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bow." The GDL will not dissolve in just 1 tablespoon of water. This really confused me since this is the first time I'm making this. I wound up using 1/2 tsp (as I saw in some Amazon reviews of the GDL), but it wasn't enough to coagulate. I added another 1 tsp (total 1.5 tsp), thought about it some more and was going to add another 1.5 tsp to make the 1 Tblsp, but it already started to coagulate. It is a bit too soft though. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify -- you need to use more like 3-4 Tblsp of water to dissolve the GDL in. Here is the GDL I bought: https://www.amazon.com/Soymerica-Tofu-Coagulant-Premium-Glucono/dp/B076C4N2SL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=gdl&qid=1607802605&sr=8-2#customerReviews
It might be caused by different brand. Follow the instructions on the package. I will update this as a reminder.
Wow, simply amazing. Thank you so much. I grew up eating the sweet version only. I recently found a shop selling the savoury Sichuan version. Tastes pretty amazing. I will try to get GDL in Australia. Love the video by the way.
Thank you, Eleanor. I love both the savory and sweet version. But the hot version is the food I ate from childhood.
Thank you for the recipe!
I really love soy and tofu, and this makes my mouth happy 🙂
How time can I store Douhua in the fridge?
Douhua must be eaten within 12 hours.
Hi I love your tofu recipe. Was wondering if it’s possible to make Dou hua with rice vinegar?
Not suggested, it gives a slightly sour taste.