Tofu Dessert in Ginger Syrup (Tau Hu Nuoc Duong)
Tàu hũ nước đường is a Vietnamese tofu dessert in ginger syrup. The texture of silken tofu is very similar to custard, but without the calories. I used store-bought silken tofu (see tips) and paired it with clementine ginger syrup. The early crop of clementines we harvested from our garden are not extremely sweet. They have a hint of tartness, which is just the way I like them! The zest is so fragrant I had to use it in this syrup.
I have made my own firm tofu before, which is quite easy, but I've always wanted to make silken tofu. After a few searches, I stumbled upon Wendy's beautiful Chinese food blog, where she shares her technique on how to make silken tofu, using Glucono-Delta-Lactone (GDL). I haven't tried her recipe yet, because I first have to find this ingredient. I can't wait to make my own silken tofu; I will definitely keep you posted.
Yields: 6 servings1 (10-ounce) chunk fresh ginger
2 cups clementine juice (or orange juice), freshly squeezed (without pulp)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pound fresh silken tofu, store-bought
Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Cut about 2 ounces of the chunk into 1/16"-thick slices, using a mandoline. Gather the rest of the ginger and grate it. Set aside.
Peel the remaining ginger with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh Microplane.
Using a sharp Chef's knife, peel 2 clementines and gather all the zest. Blanch (dip for a minute in boiling water then transfer to an ice bath). Repeat twice. This helps to lower the bitterness of the fruit. Drain and pat dry the clementine zest with a paper towel. Thinly slice (julienne) the zest.
Place the zest in a saucepan. Add granulated sugar, sliced and grated ginger and clementine juice. Prior to placing the saucepan on the stove, I usually slightly dissolve the sugar by creating a swirl in the center of the saucepan with my finger. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes (Note: the longer you cook the syrup, the more intense the ginger flavor gets). Remove from the stove and allow the ginger to infuse the syrup for about 15 minutes.
Reserve a few candied ginger slices for garnish later, then strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the grated ginger and candied zest solids (you could use the candied zest in salads; it's delicious). The color of the syrup should be light amber.
Place about 2 tablespoons of ginger syrup into an individual serving bowl. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of tofu. Pour more ginger syrup over the tofu. Garnish with a few candied ginger slices.
Once the ginger syrup is drizzled over the tofu, serve immediately.
Serve warm or chilled (I prefer it warm ).
I use Thanh Son silken tofu; their texture is flawless. If you live in the Bay Area, you have to try it. The main store is on 2857 Senter Road, San Jose. It's a very little shop but everything is very good. The tofu is made fresh daily on site.
Count about 12-13 clementines (or 3-4 oranges) to obtain 2 cups of juice.
You can store the ginger syrup and silken tofu separately for up to 2 days (3 days at the most) in the refrigerator.
You can find inexpensive, very sharp, plastic mandolines at Korean stores (compared to the ones you find online). If you don't own one, you could also use a sharp Chef's knife.January 7, 2011.