The key to a great dau fu fa is rich, homemade soy milk. As long as you have a blender and something to mimic cheesecloth (like an old T-shirt), homemade soy milk (or any other nut milk for that matter) is not too far out of reach. You can replace the ginger syrup with another infused flavor of your liking (almond works very well), and top with chopped fresh fruit, red bean paste, ice cream, or whatever else you enjoy.
- To make the soy milk, rinse and soak the beans overnight (or for at least eight hours) in water. The next day, rinse again and drain.
- Add the soaked soybeans and 2 quarts water to a blender. Blend until most visible chunks are gone. (Whatever is left will be strained out.)
- Once blended, pour the soybean-water mixture into a large pot and boil over medium heat. Stir and lower heat as needed so the milk does not burn. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and allow soy milk to thicken for about 40 minutes.
- Using cheesecloth, strain out the soybean remnants and squeeze out any liquids into a medium-size bowl. Add sugar to taste. Rinse the large pot and bring the strained soy milk back to a boil.
- In another large pot, boil the ½ cup water. Once boiling, add the agar and stir until dissolved. Add the soy milk to the water-agar mixture, and heat until boiling.
- Remove from heat when boiling, and strain the mixture into a large bowl.
- Allow to cool, then set in fridge, covered, for at least two hours.
- While waiting for the pudding to set, prepare the ginger syrup like a simple syrup.
- To make the ginger syrup, bring ½ cup water to a boil, then add sugar.
- After the sugar is dissolved, add chunks of ginger, then remove from heat. Allow the ginger to sit in the syrup for 30-60 minutes. Remove ginger chunks from syrup when ready to serve.
- Once the tofu is set, spoon into individual bowls and top with syrup. Depending on your sweetness preference, you can water down the syrup to be thinner. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
Tatiana Bautista is a freelance writer based in New York.