Tofu pudding or doufuhua (豆腐脑 or 豆腐花) is the most controversial food in China. It is quite neutral and can be match 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.
In Northern China, a gravy (in Chinese, we call this “打卤”)including wood ear mushroom, 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. In Guangdong, syrup is used to load the tofu pudding with a sweet taste and stimulate the original flavors and aroma of soy beans. In other milled provinces including Hubei and Wuhan, they mix tofu pudding directly with sugar. Simple and quick.
Another totally different version, 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 Sichuan area, this spicy tofu pudding is always sold along with Sichuan style cold noodles in summer or dan dan noodles in winter. This is a very special version. For all Sichuan food lovers, this is a must trying dish.
When making this video, my husband continued complaining that I should not introduce the savory versions. He loves sweet versions. I hope I can get your tolerance for the long video. I am just hoping to explain everything clear so you may encounter with your own perfect version.
About the coagulant
Soy beans, water and coagulant are all we need to make silky tofu pudding at home. Soy milk can coagulate with the help of 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 newly version using GDL(葡萄糖内脂). It helps to create very soft and tender tofu pudding comparing with vinegar and traditional Gypsum.
- Soy milk should be boiled before eating. Uncooked soy milk is harmful to our healthy. But watch out the fire carefully, it overflows quickly.
- No thermometer by hand, let the soy milk cool down about 2-3 minutes. The temperature should be in the right range.
- Do not move the soy milk after the GDL is added. In cold winter days, cover the pot to remain the temperature.
- You can add your favorite ingredients to douhua. Look forward to your creations.
1.Wash the soy beans and then soak the soy beans overnight until softened.Transfer to a blender and add water. Blend until very smooth.
2. Whisk GDL with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bow.
3. 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.
4. Gently stir the GDL water in the soy milk. Then rest for 15 to 20 minutes until firms.
How to make tender Chinese style tofu pudding with four seasoning options
- 1 cup soy beans
- 1500 ml water
- 3 g GDL , around 1 tablespoon (no sweeping)
- sugar to taste
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 thumb piece ginger , peeled and shredded
- 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
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.
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.
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.
To make ginger and garlic water | add 1/2 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.
You can test the gravy and see whether a pinch of salt is needed (mostly based on the saltness of the soy sauce and your own taste preference).