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Sweet Tofu Pudding (Doufu Hua/豆腐花)

Sweet Tofu Pudding (Doufu Hua/豆腐花)
Sweet Tofu Pudding (Doufu Hua/豆腐花) pictures (3 of 4)

After I published the “How to Make Soy Milk” post, many readers asked me to share the Chinese sweet tofu pudding or doufu hua (豆腐花) recipe. I will be honest, I have never made doufu hua before, as I always think of it as something very hard to do, tedious and mostly fail-prone. Oh boy, was I wrong? Now that I have made my own homemade tofu pudding, it just dawns to me why have I waited so long to try something that is so easy—and rewarding—to make!

I grew up eating a lot of doufu hua, which is a very common and popular sweet dessert in Penang, Malaysia. Walk down any streets or markets, one can always find soy milk hawkers (street vendors) selling both soy milk and doufu hua, freshly made each day. There are also hawkers who cycle their mobile stall or cart around the neighborhood, hawking “doufu hua” loudly as they peddle down the street. Both soy milk and doufu hua are excellent for the scorching hot and humid weather back home. They are my absolute favorite.

Sweet Tofu Pudding (Doufu Hua/豆腐花)

Making it at home for the first time, I did face some challenges. I consulted my friend Andrea Nguyen, author of Asian Tofu, who gave me precious tips and tricks to make the best tofu pudding at home. Her pointers are extremely useful, and they can be found at the Cook’s Notes section in the recipe. Simply put, to make really good tofu pudding at home, you need a good master soy milk, which is a richer soy milk. According to Andrea, store-bought soy milk is  usually thinner compared to homemade soy milk, and not the best for tofu pudding. So if you want to make the best doufu hua, you have to make soy milk. The recipe and step-by-step is here.

Next, you will need a coagulant. I use gypsum (石膏), which is used by the Chinese to make tofu. You can buy it online here. To make sweet tofu pudding (Doufu Hua/豆腐花), you also need syrup to serve with it. I like ginger and rock sugar syrup but I personally prefer gula melaka (Malaysian palm sugar), as pictured above.

Many people have questions about the choices of coagulant. Please read this resourceful guide “Tofu Coagulant Guide: What to Buy and Where to Find It” by Andrea Nguyen. If you love tofu, you have to pick up her cookbook Asian Tofu.

Chinese sweet tofu pudding is best served the same day it’s made, so make a big batch and share it with friends and family. Enjoy!

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46 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Mark

    OH YESSS!!! Thank you very much for sharing this recipe, Bee. Always wanted to make home-made tau-foo-fah.

    Question: I’m experiencing a bit of trouble sourcing gypsum at my local grocery shops/supermarkets. Can I use anything else as a substitute, say agar-agar for example?


    Warm regards,

  2. Joyce

    Hi Bee, I know that many traditional 豆花 recipes use 石膏 as the coagulant.
    I was wondering if you have come across any information if it is actually safe to eat? I’ve come across some recipes using gelatin or agar powder but I don’t know if they result in the same texture we desire.

    Thank you for your great and user friendly recipes!!!

    • Joyce, use food-grade gypsum. It’s not the same as what’s in drywall.

      As mentioned in my earlier responses, you can buy gypsum at home brewing supply shops — where people get beer or wine making stuff. It’s used to tweak pH levels. Or order it online.

      There are certain types of tofu, such as almond tofu that are gelled with agar-agar or gelatin. But the texture is not the same as doufu hua.

      • Joyce Berry

        Thank you for your informative feedback! I really appreciate it. Do you happen to know if the Japanese tofu coagulant nigari can also be used to produce the same texture we look for in dou hula?

  3. Diana

    Got to say, I’m glad I found your blog. Have tried a couple of recipes and they are delicious!!! Cant wait to cook Dou fu hua….

  4. ann

    Personally, I would not use gypsum powder in my food. I normally substitute is with agar agar powder. I avoid the gypsum powder at all costs.

  5. luke

    HI Bee,
    I got the gypsum powder after a long search for it. A quick question is that when u say 2 teaspoon of gypsum powder, does it mean “level teaspoonful” or “mountain-like full teaspoon”?
    It is because i heard the shop keeper saying that too much of it will make the tau fu fa hard.
    I am going to make it tomorrow morning once the soybean is soaked overnight :D

  6. Susie

    Bee, I had this for dessert yesterday after dimsum. Here in the Philippines we call it taho…served with the same syrup and with the mini tapioca pearls. It comes made to order in a small wooden so delicious. My sister is off to Penang in November..I have given her your email address so that she can check about the culinary tour. I am so jealous!

  7. tonny

    I followed your directions exactly, but my tofu isn’t becoming curdy its just a little more thick/ still liquid. I don’t know what could be wrong =[

  8. Angela Jaafar

    I had the same problem as Tonny. I followed the directions to a “T” including making my own soy milk (which did turn out decently), but my pudding didn’t hardly thicken. What went wrong?

  9. Honey

    Do you know where to buy gypsum in Malaysia? That online store you linked to only ships to US and a couple other places. Thanks!

  10. Kas

    “I use gypsum (石膏), which is used by the Chinese to make tofu”

    This is the same stuff that they also use to make drywall. The drywall they make is toxic.

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