Silken Tofu in Ginger Syrup or Tau Hu Nuoc Duong is a refreshing Vietnamese/Chinese dessert. You may have seen this dessert as one of the many offerings at Dim Sum in Chinese restaurants. In Vietnam, this dessert is commonly sold as street food. Vietnamese women would lug around two large baskets on opposite ends of a pole over their shoulders and chant the name of the dish as they make their way through the narrow alleys of neighborhoods. My family usually hail over the tofu dessert lady and buy out her whole supply. The family would enjoy a deliciously delicate dessert while helping out a hardworking woman.
This dessert is made from coagulated soy bean milk and generously topped with a sweet ginger syrup. You can buy silken tofu already-made in Asian supermarkets. It's in the refrigerated section. Do not mistaken silken tofu with the millions of other varieties. There are silken tofu, soft tofu, lightly firm tofu, firm tofu, extra firm tofu, extra-extra firm tofu, freakishly firm tofu, brick-firm tofu, and dead-as-brick tofu. However, I find that the texture in the store-bought silken tofu doesn't quite match the tofu in this dessert. It's too firm and not the velvety smooth and delicate texture that is supposed to be silken tofu. My guess is the preservatives in store-bought silken tofu affects the delicate texture.
I would suggest to forget the store-bought silken tofu. The best way to make this dish is to make your own. This doesn't mean you have to blend your own soybeans. You simply need soy milk, a coagulant and a little bit of patience as the tofu will need time to set. I suggest preparing this dish a day in advance. It will be worth the wait.
One of these days, I will try to blend my own soy beans and make the dish completely from scratch. For the time being, try the recipe below as an easy alternative to achieving a very similar texture to the silken tofu dessert that I so greatly adore from the Motherland. Happy eating!
Silken Tofu in Ginger Syrup Recipe (Tau Hu Nuoc Duong)
- 1 quart sweetened soy milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coagulant (Gypsum powder, Epson salt or Nigari. I have also used Agar Agar when I have none of the traditional coagulants)
- 1 knob of ginger (peel and thinly slice)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- In a small pot, heat the soy milk until you get wisps of steam. Do not boil.
- Whisk in the coagulant until fully dissolved. Then turn off heat.
- Pour the milk mixture into a baking pan or bowl.
- Once cooled, place Saran-wrap directly on the milk to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate overnight.
- In a small sauce pan, add the ginger, water and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Whisk until fully dissolved. Then turn off heat.
- To serve, cut up the tofu into thin slices or small cubes. Place a few pieces of tofu into a small bowl. Top with a couple tablespoons of the syrup. This dessert can be served chilled or at room temperature.