Viet Cooking Session #2. Recipe: Tào ph

I kicked off this series of Viet cooking session last year and never had the chance to update since. Into 2010 (okay, it’s already March!), let’s get started on this again, shall we?

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}
tào phớ (tàu hũ nước đường) – Tofu Fa – Tofu Pudding with ginger syrup

~ The dish ~

I grew up with this dish! A totally refreshing street snack that we had during every hot and humid summer. There was no need to go to a store, we just waited in our house until the sellers came around, calling “Tào phớ đây” (essentially means: here’s [the] tofu pudding). As a kid, I would jump out with some notes and got myself a really big bowl of this. Being a good kid, I also ordered another large bowl for my parents later. Oh wait, I would have had had another serve, too.

For me, this pudding was almost as good as ice-cream. It was a delightful treat in those hot summer days of Hanoi. To its credit, the dish is quite healthy as well. What’s more? It’s dirt cheap (still so, if you are living in Asian countries).

I know this pudding is very popular in other Asian countries. My husband’s family, of Chinese background, knows it as dau fu fa. Even in Vietnam, the names vary across the regions. There are variations on how to serve this delicious treat as well. In the north: typically with sugar syrup. I can’t recall we have jasmine essence or not. Perhaps we do. In recent years, I also see people eat the pudding with sweetened soy milk (double soy!). In the south, it is served with ginger sugar syrup. I also once tried the delicious icy cold tofu pudding with coconut milk sauce. Nice!

I have attempted to make this pudding at home. Typically in the home kitchen, people use a kind of powder, high in calcium. Since I am too lazy and it’s hard to get hold of such powder, I opt to make the modernized version of the dish. The secret ingredient: gelatin!

The recipe produces smooth and soft pudding, very similar to the traditional one. It’s better eat cold though, since the warm syrup will dissolve the pudding. I am working on the traditional version some times soon. Wish me luck!

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}

~ Ingredients Notes ~

Gelatin: should be available at your supermarket. No, agar agar is not a suitable substitute here since we want a feathery smooth pudding. If you avoid pork-related gelatine, try to find the powder made from beef skin (Davids brand in Australia)

Soy milk: If you want a more authentic taste, only go for the type of soy milk sold in Asian stores. (It’s easy to make as well, instruction here).

That’s it. So easy, yes?

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~ Ingredients~

Recipe is based on a Viet recipe from here.

6 cups soy milk
Sugar, to taste (1-2 tablespoons. I use the sweetened soy milk from Asian stores)
5 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1/2 cup warm water
Sugar syrup: 200g brown sugar, 4 slices of ginger, 1 cup more or less water

~ Direction ~

Warm the soy milk in a large saucepan. Do not boil the milk since it gets burned easily.

Dissolve the gelatin in the warm water. Stir until the mixture thickens and the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Pour the gelatin mixture to the warm soy milk. Pour the whole mixture in a large container. Let it set and refrigerate overnight minimum.

Prepare the syrup by boiling the brown sugar, ginger and water together. Cool.

To serve: gently scoop out some pudding into a small serving bowl. Pour in some sugar syrup. (I sprinkle mine with some crushed nuts and brown sugar mixture).

Tào phớ {Tofu pudding with ginger syrup}


Looking for other Vietnamese recipe?
View the recipe index
Viet Cooking Session #1 – Tam Ki Chicken Rice

31 Responses to Viet Cooking Session #2. Recipe: Tào ph

  1. cookingpractice says:

    looks fantastic ch

  2. Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) says:

    I also thinking to do Tofu and Longan pudding today, but the fresh soy milk i bought from market, kids so fast finished it. Next time I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Alisa says:

    This is delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  4. Ravenous Couple says:

    one of our favorite desserts!! thanks for the tip on using gelatin–but would love to see you make the warm version too!

  5. bittersweetblog says:

    Never had this, but I do love tofu, so I imagine I'd love it! Should be easy enough to sub agar for the gelatin…

  6. clumsycook says:

    What a fun idea for a series! So glad to have found your blog.

  7. Erica says:

    Ginger syrup sounds delicious!!!That looks great.

  8. JT @ areyouhungary says:

    oh goodness, that is one of my favourite foods – ever! I must give it a try!

  9. HoustonWok says:

    You should have given me a call,I would've flew to Australia for this.,absolutely delicious.Thanks for sharing

  10. veron says:

    I love this! We call it taho in the Philippines, early morning you can hear the vendors calling out. I love this with tapioca balls.

  11. Xiao Yen Recipes says:

    This is a recognizable Viet dessert. I've never made them from scratch since my local supermarkets sell them fresh daily. It's always good to learn to make things fresh though.

  12. foodwink says:

    I grew up with dau fu fa too! And I love having it with soy milk for a double dose of soy!

  13. ChichaJo says:

    Like Veron mentioned, we call it taho here in the Philippines and it's usually served with sugar syrup and tapioca balls…so good and yes, part of so many childhood memories! The vendors would call out "tahoooooo!", lengthening "ooo" tremendously!

  14. Yen says:

    I love this dessert especially with the ginger syrup. Now the only place I get this is at yum cha.

  15. Faith says:

    Wow, Anh, this dessert is so pretty! It sounds incredible, especially with that flavorful ginger syrup!

  16. Ozoz says:

    Looks lovely – I love anything with ginger!

  17. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Yummy! I loved this very much.

  18. neil says:

    I think my daughter will love this, she's into mango pudding at yum cha, this should be right down her alley. Maybe I'll sub some mango puree for the ginger which she might not like.

  19. Phuoc'n Delicious says:

    Anh, this looks good and it brings me back to my childhood. It is simple but comforting at the same time. I never realised how easy it was to make! I will definately make this one day and I'm sure my parents would be impressed!

  20. Amy @ says:

    This is one of my favourite desserts! Thank you for posting it. I can't believe that is all it takes. Here I thought you needed a masters degree to make these. Love, love, love it!

  21. zurin says:

    that looks amazing…cooling and refreshing! beautiful colours as always! :))

  22. Julia @Mélanger says:

    Wow, definitely looks simple and easy. I'm so interested in the tofu and ginger syrup combination.

  23. shaz says:

    I love this dish (which I know as tau foo fah) too. Especially the brown sugar syrup version. Great idea to use gelatin, I haven't attempted to make this at home because I thought it was too tricky to make. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Manggy says:

    Ditto Joey and Veron's comments – I am an anomaly though, I like mine chilled instead of warm. Our syrup is quite dark – reminiscent of syrups made with Japanese kuro zatou. This looks so appetizing and I could sure use a bowlful now.

  25. Not Quite Nigella says:

    This is hubby favourite dessert! He once ordered three portions at yum cha-crazy stuff 😛

  26. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    Looks delicious. I am supposed to avoid too much soy but I bet this would be good with almond milk too.

  27. Belle@Ooh, Look says:

    Oh, I love this pudding! Can't wait to make it. And I can't wait to see your trad version, too.

  28. Agnes says:

    Oh I love dau fu fa! I love it with really sweet, REALLY gingery syrup. I'm impressed that you made your own tofu, I normally just buy it and make the syrup!

  29. Simona says:

    This is very interesting: it reminds me of panna cotta, except that it is made with tofu. Ginger syrup and nuts sounds like a ice combination.

  30. Thuy Duong says:


  31. Cam Van says:

    Thank You Chi for sharing your recipe, I made it last night and tried this morning….it was delicious! It was exactly like those from the vendors. The only thing was mine did not turn out as white, what tofu milk brand did you use?Never the less, I consider this a success. I've been searching for a sweet tofu recipe without the need of using Gypsum, and this is so good and healthy for you

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