Asia’s equivalent of panacotta, but a gluten-free, vegan-friendly pudding.
Douhua 豆花 (dòuhuā) is a soy pudding made from soy milk with a velvety smooth and silky texture that’s served drenched in a brown sugar syrup. My papa told me stories of his childhood, where there’d be food vendors pushing around a little cart selling food to the locals. He said if the dohua was still warm, it usually meant it was fresh.
This black bean/soy pudding is a soft tofu dessert. It forms as the soy milk coagulates into curds when it cools down and reacts to the gypsum powder. In Taiwanese cuisine, dohua is often served with sweet toppings, including:
- soft and sweet cooked peanuts
- tapioca pearls (used in bubble tea)
- sweet mung beans
- sweet red beans
- grass jelly
- agar agar jello
My family serves it with a simple brown sugar syrup, but ever since I had douhua from Taiwan in December, I add tapioca pearls in mine as well now. Simply boil 1/4 Cup brown sugar to 1 Cups of water till it thickens in a pot on the stove, then allow to cool.
This is a useful recipe using gypsum powder and cornstarch if you plan to make from scratch. Honestly, it’s easier making it with a premix. If you’re using a premix, follow the instructions for quantities of liquids.
- 1tsp gypsum powder (熟石膏粉)
- 1tsp cornstarch/Maizena
- 1 000 ml/1l of unsweetened soy milk (you can also used sweetened soy milk, just remember to add less syrup when serving)
- 1 Tbsp of hot water
- Heat the soy milk up until it boils for a minute (keep stirring in between to avoid burning)
- In a bowl, mix the gypsum powder and hot water, until it’s completely dissolved. *
- Add the corn starch into the mixture and mix until even. *
- In a separate container (I used a ceramic bowl as the cooling process will be distributed more evenly), scoop the mixture into the centre of the container.
- Pour the boiled soy milk into the container and stir the mixture into the soy milk very quickly while it’s hot, this prevents coagulation before the pudding is completely even (try achieve in under a minute).
- Cover the container and let it sit for 30 minutes – do not move the container, the slightest movement can cause irregularity in texture during coagulation. The longer it sits, the firmer the pudding will be.
The trick when serving is to use a sharp and large spoon to scoop pudding up into a serving bowl without breaking it. Serve hot or cold (refrigeration), with toppings and a simple brown syrup, sometimes flavoured with almond or ginger.
When served cold, it won’t be as smooth as it is when it’s warm. Try eat as fresh as possible.