Tau Foo Fah (Soy Bean Pudding)

Tau Foo FahTau Foo Fah or douhua (in Mandarin) is a Chinese dessert made with very soft tofu eaten with a clear sweet syrup infused with ginger or pandan. Sometimes brown syrup is used in place of clear syrup. Usually eaten warm, it is also quite delicious chilled. In the old days, tau foo fah is sold by street vendors but today you can find it as part of the dim sum offering in Chinese restaurants.

Tau foo fah is made by coagulating soy milk with gypsum (calcium sulfate) as a coagulant. Other coagulants that may be used are nigari (magnesium chloride) and glucono delta lactone (GDL). Here in the US, gypsum can be purchased in small sachets at the Asian grocery stores but I have not seen nigari or GDL. Unsweetened soy milk in cartons can also be easily found in the regular grocery stores. You can definitely make your own soy milk but this can be a pretty involved process.

Unsweetened soy milk and agar-agar powder

The measured amount of gypsum should be fully dissolved in hot water and mixed with corn starch. In my first attempt, I had a hard time trying to get the gypsum to dissolve. Hence, my tofu did not coagulate properly. Taste wise, it was not very good either. I was determined to give it another try.

I do like my tau foo fah cold and figured that I could use agar-agar powder instead of gypsum. My second attempt turned out quite well, although still a little on the soft side with some agar-agar solids at the bottom of the dish. I had to perfect it and so on my third attempt, I added a little vanilla extract and just a little more agar-agar powder and I strained the mixture this time. After chilling it for two hours in the fridge, the tofu was ready for the texture and taste test. Glad to say that it was a success! The texture was right and the vanilla gave it a light fragrance.

Tau Foo Fah

Tau Foo Fah (Soy Bean Pudding)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 4 cups (960ml) soy milk (I used cold store bought unsweetened soy milk)
  • 1 tbsp agar-agar powder
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water
  • ½ cup (110g) sugar
  • 1 inch ginger, smashed
  1. In a medium sized pot, warm up soy milk on medium heat. Do watch it as soy milk burns easily and this will give you a burnt taste in your tau foo fah which you do not want. It can also boil over.
  2. In another pot, bring half cup water to a boil. Add agar-agar, stirring until dissolved. Pour warm soy milk and vanilla extract into agar-agar mixture and stir to combine. Turn off heat when mixture comes to a boil. Strain mixture into a large pot with lid.
  3. Wrap lid with a clean kitchen towel and place onto pot. When it has cooled a little, transfer to the refrigerator and allow to set for about 2 hours.
  4. Place all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and remove ginger.
  5. To serve, use a flat spatula to gently cut thin slices of tau foo fah into a small bowl.
  6. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of syrup.

Tau Foo Fah

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎


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    • Biren says

      This is a tofu dessert but I don’t see why you can’t use coconut milk. It will certainly be different.

  1. says

    Biren, this is one of my kidsies’ favorite desserts. They love having it cold on hot summer days. This is lovely enough on it’s own that we even enjoy it without the syrup, but the syrup definitely adds a very nice finishing touch. Your Tau Foo Fah looks so smooth and delicious. Very professional looking too. My dear, you have the prettiest and coolest kitchenware. I would have a blast looking through your cabinets. Thank you for sharing your lovely recipe. Have a great week!

    • Biren says

      Cold tau foo fah on a warm day is certainly a treat. This is one of my favorite desserts and I will definitely be making more of it in the coming days.

      I love collecting a piece here and there and so there are loads of junk in my cabinets. :)

  2. says

    Biren, I’ve never heard of this before and don’t think it will be the last. I love your posts and learning so much from you. You’re the real temptress with that spoon. I want to try some NOW!!

    • Biren says

      Lyndsey, this is one of my favorite desserts as I love tofu. The good thing about this is that you can add as much or as little syrup as you like. Using coconut milk will make it a little like panna cotta. Don’t know if you saw my lemongrass panna post. Might be interesting to try it.

    • Biren says

      It is really smooth and I absolutely love it. You can put in as much or as little syrup as you like. I like mine a little less sweet.

  3. says

    OMG!!! thank you vey much for this AWESOME recipe! (: i LOVE dou hua! im sure to try it! yours look so yummy! better than those selling in store! love it (:

  4. DongXing says

    Biren, I could eat copius amount of this, hot or cold. I love this and the last time I ate this was last year when I was in Malaysia. My kids don’t like this because of the wobbly texture and this is one thing I could eat lots without having to share it with the kids… Now, I have to try this recipe to make this. Btw, I made sweetcorn pudding at the weekend and they were so good. The texture was softer than how I recalled it to be – perhaps because I’d used Bird’s Eye Custard, but neverthelss, they were delicious!

    • Biren says

      Sometimes it is okay if the kids don’t like something. We can still make it for our own sakes. You could half the recipe and that should be plenty for one person. :)

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the sweetcorn pudding. I did not use Bird’s Eye Custard and so I am not sure of the measurements. Also adjust the amount of agar-agar used. Play around with it and you should come up with the right consistency in no time.

  5. says

    Love this! I have a recipe bookmarked and that involves GDL, haven’t been able to find it so it’s put on hold. Great to hear that agar-agar powder can be used!

  6. Therese says

    I was just at the Asian store looking for gypsum to try that method. I did buy agar-agar for a different recipe. Fortunately, bought plenty of agar-agar. I look forward to trying out this recipe soon!

    • Biren says

      Aww…thank you so much Jill! I am truly honored. I thank you for your friendship and I look forward each day to reading your comments here. :)

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing, I love how silky and comforting this soy bean pudding is, I know my kids would love this, yummy!!


    ps, thanks for stopping by new latina, I appreciate the support!!

  8. says

    Oh I’ve never attempted this at home before, merely because it’s in abundant in Singapore! They even franchise it all over the tiny island :) I’m bookmarking it for that one day where I gather enough courage to try!

    • Biren says

      I know, it is so much easier to buy than to make it at home. I, too, never thought of making it until I moved here.

  9. says

    I have to be honest…I never liked this dish!! My mom and brother loves it but I could never bring myself to eat cold sugary tofu…haha, that was what it was to me!

  10. says

    This is my absolute favorite dessert, and my kids’ favorite too! I’m curious about the texture because you used agar agar, but when you say it’s just right (and it looks right too), I totally believe you! You make it look easy, so I’m trying this recipe out soon.

    • Biren says

      The thing is to get the right proportion of agar-agar powder to soy milk. You may have to play around with the proportions as the thickness of your soy milk may be different. Have fun!

  11. says

    It’s so easy to get beancurd over here that I forget how much of a special treat it can be for someone in your situation. The texture is perfect – I’m so glad you found a way to satisfy your craving for this simple but sublimely delicious treat :)

  12. says

    Hi Birren. I’m heading over here from Nami’s site. thank you for sharing this recipe. This is one of my favourite asian desserts. Thank you for working out a recipe that had more accessible ingredients. I will give this recipe a go.

  13. Rebecca says

    Biren, you’re so smart to make use of Agar agar to make the Tau Foo Fah, it is good news to all in overseas as it is hard for that powder ingredient. I will surely make to it often at home.

  14. Food Lover says

    Just stumbled on your blog and went through it salivating at all the wonderful recipes. And when I saw this, it was like “OMG! I must try this” – Thank you so very much for sharing and you really have the right caption ie Food to Gladden the heart as this sure makes my heart sing!!!

    • Biren says

      Thank you for the kind words! I am glad to hear you have enjoyed your visit and the recipes made your heart sing. :) Please do visit again soon.

  15. Anastasia says

    Hi Biren,

    Let me tell you this, your website is the best website I have ever come across with all the delicious desserts that you have posted here is to die for…I miss the abundant Malaysian delicacies so easily available ….I was just looking at the unsweetened soy milk in the supermarket today thinking if I could add some sugar syrup and make it more palatable for my kid who loves the Malaysian version soy milk but not tau fu fah….do you think it is a worthwhile effort, I know that where I live i cannot get the Yeos’/Bonus brand soya milk we so love to drink..Hope you can give me some feedback..Appreciate it…thks

    • Biren says

      Thanks for the compliments, Anastasia! I am glad to hear you enjoy the recipes here. Yes, I think it is worthwhile making the syrup for the unsweetened soy milk if your kids like it. A syrup is very simple and quick to make and it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

  16. lyla says

    Hi. I’ve only got the agar-agar strips, not the powder. Do you know how much I should used to substitute?

    Also, tau foo fah is always sold warm where I grew up :)

    • Biren says

      I have never used agar-agar strips and so I am not certain how much to use without testing it out. Where I grew up, tau foo fah was also sold warm. However, since I used agar-agar as the coagulant and not edible gypsum, it has to be cooled in the fridge in order for it to solidify.

  17. Diane says

    Wow! Thank you for this. Can I eat this hot? I like it hot. Planning on making this for my daughter this summer with coconut milk.

    • Linda says

      Since this recipe uses agar-agar powder, it needs to be refrigerated for it to coagulate. As mentioned above, you need sek ko fun (gypsum/calcium sulfate) or GDL in order for it to coagulate while still warm.


  1. […] Going Green is March’s theme for Dessert Wars. Reeni and Christine have laid out a paired list of natural green ingredients for the challenge – traditional and non-traditional. The participants had to select at least one ingredient from each list. Given the two lists I had to wreck my brain for the best possible combination. I chose kiwi and mint from the traditional list and lemongrass from the non-traditional list. These three ingredients have very distinctive flavors of their own. I wanted something subtle and mild to bind them together. Panna Cotta which means cooked cream in Italian would work. I infused the cream with lemongrass just enough to give it a bite. The simple kiwi mint sauce rounded off the dessert nicely, by giving it a light and fresh flavor. The combination was quite delightful and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. To my readers in Asia, the taste and texture of panna cotta is akin to a creamier Tau Foo Fah (Soy Bean Pudding). […]

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