Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Soybean Curd (Wobby Tau Foo Fah)

Posted by Quinn at Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This is the soybean curd recipe as promised. It is so smooth, I finally got it. Apart from the typical hot soybean curd, I did another version of chilled beancurd, set with the right amount of gelatine and Aaron really like this one so much that he asked me not to bother fidgeting and getting all mad and crazy about gypsum.

This is good and cold and very very smooth. The pictures you see here, the one with Gula Melaka Syrup is the one set with gelatine (picture below) and the one with Pandan-Ginger Syrup is set with coagulant, a mixture of gypsum, cornflour and tapioca starch (picture above). I however didn't use gypsum this time. I found Pectin from my local supermarket, the one used to make fruit jams so I use that one instead. It sets the curd beautifully. From my experience, pectin has a higher range of setting the curd compared to gypsum. I'm sorry but I give up on gypsum already.

My mum makes her beancurd using Gypsum powder and so does the lady that taught her so. I don't know if it's the weather but hers always set so beautifully. This one can't beat mum's one but this is good enough for me and Aaron really thinks the chilled beancurd anytime beats any Tau Fo Fah anytime! So I've included both for you all to try. We both personally prefer the Gula Melaka Syrup and ended up using the Pandan-Ginger Syrup to sweeten our Soy milk.

The recipe is provided by the nice woman that mum bought her soybean grinder from, let's call her Mrs. Buffalo because she is a sales person for the brand, Buffalo.

Give it a go, it's not tough at all. Gypsum can be very tricky sometimes.

Soybean Curd
(courtesy of Mrs. Buffalo)

4 cups of boiling hot soy milk
Coagulants (see below)
Room temperature sugar syrup to serve (see below)

After the 3 times of boiling the soy milk, stir the coagulant one last time and pour it into a slow cooker pot. Then pour in the hot soy milk from a height making sure you pour it over all the coagulant paste so they are finely dispersed. Cover with a tea towel and place on the lid of slow cooker (it has to be a heavy glass lid). Set it aside to coagulate for 50 minutes, do not move or relocate the slow cooker, do not peek, do not open, do not stir. Just sit there with a chair and a book and guard it. I have too many people with itchy hands in here so I have to guard it!

To serve, scoop out thin layers of the pudding and place it in a serving bowl. Drizzle over sugar syrup and serve immediately. For every time you scoop a new bowl of Tau Foo Fah, you'll notice a water layer in the pot. Just scoop away the water layer and proceed to scoop the curd like normal.


1/2 tsp gypsum powder (can substitute with 3/4 tsp Pectin or GDL or Lactone)
1/2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
3 tbsp water

Mix all the above together, making sure the cornflour and tapioca starch is completely dissolved. Set aside until needed.
Justify Full
Chilled Soybean Curd

300ml soy milk
1 tsp gelatine
Sugar syrup to serve, chilled until very cold

Dissolve the gelatine by sprinkling it over 1 tbsp of water. Set it aside to swell for 5 mins. Measure out the soy milk and place it in a milk pot and reheat gently. When it is about hot to touch, turn the heat off and pour in the gelatine paste, scrapping everything in. Whisk it to combine for a minute. Scoop off as much bubbles as possible that is produced from the vigorous stirring. Cool it down to room temperature and chill it overnight in the fridge, cover tightly with a plastic cling wrap.

To serve, scoop out thin layers of the pudding and place it in a serving bowl. Drizzle over cold sugar syrup and serve immediately.

Gula Melaka Syrup:

1/4 cup Gula Melaka, shaved and compact into measuring spoon and measure
1 tbsp brown sugar
Water, as much as you like but not too much

Bring everything to boil until all sugar is melted. Remove from heat and chill until very cold.

Pandan-Ginger Syrup:

1/4 cup raw sugar or rock sugar
2 pandan leaves, cleaned and knotted
Thumb-size ginger, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
Wter, as much as you like but not too much

Bring everything to boil and when all is melted, let it simmer for 5mins. Remove from heat and cover to let pandan and ginger infuse the sugar syrup. Cool it down and chill until very cold.

I hope you like this post and find some information helpful to you. I hope the pictures can show you how silky smooth the Tau Foo Fah is and get you to make some for your loved ones! Whatever you do, please don't use store-bought Soy Milk for this because they just won't work.

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54 comments on "Soybean Curd (Wobby Tau Foo Fah)"

Honey Bee Sweets on May 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM said...

Wow! You did it, good job! Okay, you really motivate me to make this myself. Thanks for the recipe! ;)

Bakericious on May 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM said...

Wow the soya beancurd looks so fine and soft, I like to eat with soya milk yummy!

Piee on May 19, 2010 at 1:55 PM said...

I despise Gypsum powder too. The last couple times I've tried, it ended up looking like someone's meal that came out the wrong end. VEry very frustrating!

I will attempt your gelatine method and see how that turns out.

Kitchen Corner on May 19, 2010 at 3:39 PM said...

Wah!! You made your own soya beancurd!! Very very soft, delicious! Admiring your passion!

Tia on May 19, 2010 at 3:40 PM said...

yikes! i think i'll stick to buying mine. there are son many ingred. in this post i've never heard of. lol. good job though!

Anonymous said...

Where can I find gypsum powder in Australia? Thanks for sharing this recipe and I will definitely try it sometime soon!

Quinn on May 19, 2010 at 5:55 PM said...

@Ellie: I posted a picture of gypsum for you. It's Goldfish Brand and this brand is available all over Asian groceries in Melbourne and Adelaide (not sure about Sydney). I bought mine from Chinatown, from an Asian grocery called Kim Wang, it was dirt cheap,95cents and it last me forever. If you would like to try pectin or Lactone, it's in supermarket, the same section as where they sell instant vanilla pudding and cake mixes.

@Piee: I used to thought if I add a lot of gypsum, it will set more but I was wrong. Mrs. Buffalo said, you add too little it will set very softly, not scoopable. You add too much, it will separate and curdle the very moment you combine coagulant with hot soy milk. So you have to be very precise and exact with the gypsum measurement.

@Tia: Darling, that's because you don't go into Asian supermarket often enough. When I first started cooking, I don't know my ingredients. I just write them down and shove it to the face of my Asian grocerer and make him find stuffs for me. I learn....

Thanks everyone!

MaryMoh on May 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM said...

Wow...this is awesome using gelatine. I would love to try. I cough each time I eat those made with gypsum. I'm sure the chemical is not good. Thanks for sharing.

pigpigscorner on May 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM said...

Wow it looks so smooth! I like mine with gula melaka. Now I have to look for that gypsum powder!

Quinn on May 19, 2010 at 9:45 PM said...

@birdfeed: If you look at the recipe's', I've provided 2. The first one, which is the truly original one is set with coagulants. All ingredients within the coagulants are vegan and vegetarian. Yes, I am aware that gelatine is not vegetarian nor vegan but I disagree with you saying gelatine is dead animal, rather is derived from dead animal.I'd say it's connective tissue but not dead animals. Animals are slaughtered for their flesh and gelatine is a by-product. I'm sorry if you feel uncomfortable but you can substitute it with agar-agar strands or powder, of equal parts.


birdfeed on May 19, 2010 at 9:57 PM said...

Comment removed. That's what I get for not reading beginning to finish.
Sorry about that!

ICook4Fun on May 19, 2010 at 10:05 PM said...

Thank you so much Quinn for sharing the recipe of tau foo fah using pectin as I always want to try making it without the gypsum.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi on May 19, 2010 at 11:10 PM said...

Hey, Quinn! This comment is interrelated to my comment on your soymilk post! I made soymilk because I wanted to make chilled taufoofah! Hahaha! I used the recipe shared by Edith. But I failed big time! =( I probably added too much agar-agar powder because of my itchy hands ... fearing the thing wouldn't set well. *Sigh* Back then, gypsum powder was hard for me to find. There isn't any Asian grocer at where I live.

Wonderful, wonderful post! Keep it up!

Quinn on May 19, 2010 at 11:32 PM said...

birdfeed: No you're fine, don't worry about it.

Gert: If make without gypsum then have to use pectin if not won't be the same else use gelatine and make chilled beancurd. Very good and silky smooth on summer days!

Pei-Lin: My soy milk is also interrelated to my soybean curd because the very main reason I make soy milk is because I want to make Tau Foo Fah!!! I've read the recipe shared by Edith but I didn't quite like the fact it uses agar-agar because that yield a crunchy texture if you add too much and will not set properly if you add too little. Try mine, 300ml soy milk to 1 tsp gelatine powder are matchmade in heaven. Very wobbly and scoopable. Remember to wet the spoon when scooping so they won't cling too much on your spoon.

Swee San on May 20, 2010 at 2:03 AM said...

The soya bean vendor in the pasar malam near my house says they use some kinda fruit enzyme to make tau foo fah, just wondering have u heard of that ??

noobcook on May 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM said...

ok you are a genius!! I loveee tau hwa, going to bookmark this recipe :D

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) on May 20, 2010 at 7:23 PM said...

Quinn, this is awesome post, very informative and you are just cute, I especially like this -do not peek, do not open, do not stir, hahaha..although i can buy this easily from nearby market here, but I must get my hands to try the gelatine version.Thanks dear for your kind sharing.

Su-yin on May 21, 2010 at 10:27 PM said...

I loooove tau foo fah, and was so dissapointed when I realised there is no place in London that serves a good version of it. A friend of mine tried making tau foo fah with the gypsum powder a while back but it never solidified, lol.

I'll bookmark this and try out the recipe when I get a major craving for tau foo fah. Great writeup!

Quinn on May 21, 2010 at 11:27 PM said...

Swee San: I think it's pectin, the soya bean seller told me they don't use gypsum nowadays, they use GLD. It's used to make fruit jam, kind of like enzyme.

Sonia: Haha, thanks! You should try the gelatine version one, it's fantastic!!!

Su-yin: Darling, no place in London? I think same goes to Australia. The last time we had it in a Dim Sum place, it was horrible! Floury tasting and bland!

Pei Ying said...

oh thank you thank you thank you! I couldn't find gypsum in Perth :) Maybe I will have better luck finding pectin and making my own tau foo fah! :D

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... on May 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM said...

I think the fruit enzyme is GDL.
The chinese term for GDL is translated as fruit acid.

I tried making TFF with GDL and it was difficult compared to gypsum.
Making it with GDL is more temperamental with the content of protein and consistency of the milk. I haven't post that yet because I could get a decent scoop of it. I had to get that round flat spatula thingy.

Quinn on May 24, 2010 at 4:10 PM said...

Pei Ying:You can get Pectin from Coles or Woolies. I believe they have Gypsum in Perth, try Chinatown. Anyway to be safe, I better buy another packet before I move to Perth!

Wendy, I'm not too sure how you compare GDL to Gypsum but from the recipe that Mrs. Buffalo provide, it seems that 1/2 tsp Gypsum powder = Approximately 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp GDL or Lactone or Pectin. That is almost double if I could say it. I personally think using Pectin is easier than gypsum but gypsum gives it a smooth custardy feeling and pectin has a slightly chewy after effect if put too much. You must be refering to a Tau Foo Fah scoop that you want to buy. I don't have it.I just use a very shallow ladle.

Shirley @ Kokken69 on May 25, 2010 at 12:38 AM said...

Quinn, I applaud your efforts in this. Indeed the traditional Tau Fah is made with Gypsum powder... I believe that's Calcium Bisulphate (sorry lah, the chemist in me just couldn't resist). I believe I should be able get these at chinese medicine halls quite easily... I will check tomorrow.

Shirley @ Kokken69 on May 28, 2010 at 5:18 PM said...

Hey Quinn, I finally bought the Gypsum powder at the Chinese Medicine hall. 20cents for 2 tbsp. Would like to check with you when you pour the soya bean milk into the slow cooker, do you actually 'cook' the mixture? or you are just using the slow cooker to maintain the heat?

Quinn on May 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM said...


Ahahaha...don't know what's scientific name but thanks though. The heat from the soy milk is enough to cook the coagulant when you pour it in. The slow cooker is just to maintain the temperature. Ideally, a wooden bucket would be best, one with lid. My mum uses one of those wooden bucket used to store rice, a mini one. If the temperature goes down too quickly, your soybean curd will never set smoothly.

Shirley @ Kokken69 on May 28, 2010 at 7:45 PM said...

I see... I thought so. 木桶豆花-that should be nice. I had tried the gelatine version before -it was really good too - but gelatine melts outside the fridge... so I am keen to try it with the Gypsum powder - I am so glad I didn't have to buy one big packet. 2 tbsps for 20cents...hee hee..

Za on June 5, 2010 at 6:13 PM said...

HI Quinn,

Have you tried with agar-agar? I cant find gypsum here. And I think reading the effects of gypsum on the health, I'd rather go safe and use agar2. So if u happen to know the proportions for using agar2 pray tell! Wish I could grab a spoonful of the tff from the screen!

Quinn on June 5, 2010 at 10:08 PM said...

Shirley: Down here in Australia, gelatine doesn't melt so quickly! To be exact, gelatine melts at 37C, which is why the very moment you pop it in your mouth, it starts melting and the rest of the time, it is just a wobbly bit, at the verge of melting yet still holding its shape. I like working with gelatine and its proportion. I add less during the winter and more during summer . Gypsum is original but I love cold tff now!!!!

Za: Yes I've tried wit agar-agar but as I've mentioned, I don't like how it gives it a crunchy vite rather than a smooth melt in the mouth velvety texture. If you insist to substitute for various vegan or non-beef reason, it is equal parts of gelatine to equal parts of agar-agar. I think you can try Chinatown, I'm pretty sure they have it in Washington. I've read about the concerns on using gypsum but really you're not using a lot, just over a teaspoon. If you can eat gold and iron safely, I'm pretty sure gypsum is fine, very little goes a long way.

Za on June 22, 2010 at 7:32 PM said...

Thanks for the reply! And yes you are right about the not so silky smooth taste that comes with using agar2. I cannot use gelatine because the one that's sold here is made from pork and therefore not edible for Muslims. Ur prob right abt Chinatown as well but it's tooooo far!!!(read: lazy to drive) So now I have turned my attention to pectin. Do I replace gelatine with the same amt of pectin? thanks!

Quinn on June 22, 2010 at 8:04 PM said...

Hi Za,I think you can find beef gelatine too you know. Try looking for it. It clearly says 100% beef gelatine. I know...and I take a bus to Chinatown, which is 40mins away, tell me about it... For pectin, no, you need to use slightly more. I've stated it down in the recipe, if you use 1/2 tsp gelatine, you'll need to use 3/4 tsp of pectin. You can even try 1 tsp if you like but too much of it produced a sour tasting curd. Not strong and obvious, but I'm picky and I can taste it.

yin said...

hi quinn, may i know the difference in texture between using lactone and pectin? i have never tried pectin and am curious to know the texture. thanks

Quinn on June 22, 2010 at 10:06 PM said...


I think they're the same thing, Lactone, GLD, Pectin. Lactone is derived from Pectin. Here in Adelaide, they're the same thing to me.

Za on June 28, 2010 at 6:13 AM said...

Hi Quinn, used 3/4 tsp pectin and it didn't turn out well. There was a clump of jelly-ish stuff at the bottom of the pot and the top was still liquid. This tofu fah is truly a test on one's culinary skill and patience. LOL....

~*Starryluvly*~ on March 27, 2011 at 3:37 PM said...

Hi Quinn
I don't know if this will help but I noticed that the gypsum powder coagulant is very very sensitive to movement. Even when I tried to gently scoop the top layer of bubbles out from my liquid mixture, I could see the tau fu fa getting scrambled. Also, I used the following proportions:

1 and a half teaspoon gypsum
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In case you haven't found gypsum in Perth, it's available at Lucky Supermarket on Brisbane Street...

Question time: any idea what the role of cornstarch is in making tau fu fa? I'm tempted to experiment with less cornstarch...

Quinn on March 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM said...

Za: I do not know where you go wrong but if you go wrong with pectin, chances are you will fail with gypsum. Is the pectin expired or does not work so well anymore? There could be a lot more other reasons really. Sorry can't help!

~*Starryluvly*~ : What sorta spoon did you use? I did not have a tau foo fah scoop, I use a normal spoon but it's thin and has got rather sharp edges and makes nice scoop. If your tau foo fah gets scrambled easily, it could be due to too much or too little gypsum, either way would scramble it, I'm afraid there is no easy way out but to experiment again.

I have been to Brisbane Street pretty often so far, they also have Gypsum powder in VHT Perth down on William Street :)

You use cornstarch as thickener in cooking, I believe it is there to give more body to the soy bean curd. I've not tried omitting it thus cannot tell you what would happen love.

Alka said...

Hi Quinn,

Tried making some Tau Fah yesterday. It was ok but taste grainy. Wonder if you know why is it grainy? I used gypsum and cornflour.


Quinn on April 7, 2011 at 11:09 PM said...


If you've made changes/substituted/omitted something from the recipe, I really cannot tell you why it is grainy. Did you add the tapioca flour? If you follow everything above, it should be silky smooth.

I am so sorry I could not help because I have not tried any other combination other than the above.

Loo Family on April 13, 2011 at 9:44 AM said...

Hi Hi
The Tau Hway looks good. Hv just arrived Melbourne and missing my fav morning breakie of Tau Hway.

I read from another blogger that there is two kind of Gypsum. The cooked one (slightly grey tone which is the correct one for setting tau Hway) and the uncooked version (which is use for making those cooling water when one is heaty)

Wonder if the Goldfish brand one is the cooked version or uncooked?

Thanks Heaps

Quinn on April 14, 2011 at 9:10 PM said...


The Goldfish brand that I bought was greyish. It is the cooked one. If you are unsure, ask the grocerer before buying.

Jeanette said...

I have been searching high and low on the internet for a tau huay recipe and was so pleased to find yours. Great post and lovely pictures too!

I was wondering if you could tell me what your measurements are in weight, or perhaps just whether you are using metric or imperial measurements. I'm using metric which makes 1 cup = 250ml, 1 tbsp = 15ml & 1 tsp = 5ml.

P.S. I'm also based in Adelaide! And it seems I'm from the same part of the world as you -- was born in Singapore.

zephyros on May 9, 2011 at 6:26 PM said...

hi got a quick question...i have made soya milk a few times with no issues. but recently my soya milk as been becoming like tofu fa. i didn't put any powder or anything, just raw cane sugar. I make my soya milk by hand.
what causes my soya milk to solidify?
tasted it, wasn't bad, not sour and no stomach ache so far. this has happened twice. any idea?

zephyros on May 9, 2011 at 6:28 PM said...

not sure what happened to my last question, but here it is again. Have been making soya milk with no issues. Lately (last 2 times), my soya milk kinda solidified into something that looks like tofu fa. didn't taste sour or anything and no stomach aches*touch wood*. but what's the reason for my soya milk to solidify? All I added was raw cane sugar.


Quinn on May 15, 2011 at 10:46 PM said...

Jeanette:I am using a little of both. For the first recipe given by someone, the cups measurement are exactly like what you have stated:

1 cup = 250ml, 1 tbsp = 15ml & 1 tsp = 5ml.

For the cold version, it is 300ml of soymilk, which is approx 1 cup + 1/4 cup (that extra 10ml would not affect anything!)

I was born in Malaysia and was in Adelaide for two years but I have recently relocated to Perth and am working here :)

Zephyros: Your comment came through but I did not have time to look through it, sorry about that! I tried what you did but nothing happened to mine. Which part of the world are you in now honey? In Australia, I have used raw cane sugar, muscovado, brown sugar, palm sugar all with no problems of solidifying at all! I have not heard of such problem, sorry cannot help but all I could suggest is that if it is giving you problem, could you not try other types of sugar?

Anonymous said...

zephyros the soya beans that you have used, mioght be due to storage might have have been more then one year old, or bad storage(like high temperature would spolit the beans, spolit beans are not visible to the naked eye, these two reason might explain why your soya milk might kind of solidify alan

zephyros on May 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM said...

ic...i'll see if this happens anymore. i've just bought a new bag


Anonymous said...

Quinn, i took your picture of soybean curd

Eric VAILLIER on July 12, 2011 at 9:12 PM said...

Hi Quinn

I tried your recipe today and mine was a total failure.. somehow, my tau fu fah just wouldn't set.

Not only it would not set, but my soya milk was also separated into 2 layers - the soya milk below and the water above. I have previously made soy milk successfully it has never separate itself into 2 layers.

I am not sure what happen. I used a coagulant called cuddling powder and added the correct amount of starch. ( I use corn instead of tapioca, does this affect the result?)

Have you heard from anyone that their soya milk separated into 2 layers after adding the coagulant agent?


Quinn on July 17, 2011 at 1:41 AM said...

Hi Eric,

How's it going? Sorry about the late reply, been busy catching up with work. It's best to read through all the comments above where readers share in order to see what could have gone wrong, they sometimes provide very good insights and troubleshooting techniques.

If you've made changes/substituted/omitted something from the recipe, I really cannot tell you why it separated. If you follow everything above, it should be silky smooth.

I am so sorry I could not help because I have not tried any other combination other than the above.

No one has emailed or commented and get back to me with separation issues.

Anyway, here is my experience, they will separate if:

too much/too little gypsum is added


temperature of pot used to store the tau fu fah is decreasing too quickly


soy beans are too old or has been soaked for far too long (overnight would be just perfect)

I urge you to try again and do not substitute anything.

Good luck mate!

Anonymous said...

Hi Quinn,
Would like to know whether you use pure pectin. I couldn't find pectin except for the Hansells brand of jam setting mix which contains glucose, pectin (9%) and citric acid. Can I use this?


Anonymous said...

Hi Quinn,
I have made nice tau foo fah before using 1 teaspoon of agar agar powder to 1 litre of soy bean milk, just that it has to be served chilled. Thinking of trying pectin because I like warm tau foo fah. The problem is I can't find pectin other than the jam setting mix which contains glucose, citric acid and pectin (9%). Would like to know whether you use pure pectin or the jam setting mix.

Quinn on November 1, 2011 at 12:06 AM said...

Tammy: I love the cold chilled one in summer and warm one is really nice on any other days. i have used both pure pectin and also jam setting mix and they worked fine except that from memory, the jam setting mix I used have higher pectin content than 9%. Could not remember the rand, it was something I got off the supermarket shelf in major Australia supermarket. hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi Quinn, im very very happy with ur chilled bean curd. Ur a blessing to me whose been wanting to make soybean curd for my little girl. God bless u!

Anonymous said...

Hi there Your TFF looks awesome! Sadly I don't have a soybean grinder. May I know why is commercially-bought soy milk not suitable for your recipe? Thanks!

Quinn on April 3, 2012 at 4:48 PM said...

Unknown: I know...the cold one is pretty amazing too especially in summer, i am glad you liked it!

Anonymous: Buy a blender love, it is heavily abused in my kitchen from making soy milk to milkshake and chili paste. Commercial soy milk has far too much stuff in it. Even when I buy the stuff that says no preservative and plain soy milk, it just doesn't set as well, high water content perhaps would be my guess.

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