Doufu Hua (Bean Curd Jelly 豆腐花)
What is it?
Doufu, which means tofu, is believed to have originated in ancient China during the Han Dynasty. Even though most people consider tofu very bland and lacking personality, when it is done well – which demands good soymilk – it has an earthy flavour and strong taste of the bean.
Doufu also forms the basis of one of China’s most popular desserts. Doufu hua, silken tofu with the creaminess of custard, is eaten with sugar syrup. In some parts of the country, like Sichuan, doufu hua can also be savoury and is sometimes eaten with soy sauce, chopped scallion, Sichuan pepper and a dash of chilli oil.
Why is it famous?
It is believed that as early as the Han Dynasty, Liu An, an advisor to Emperor Wu (the monarch also happened to be his nephew), stumbled upon the making of bean curd while he was trying to make the drug for eternal life. Other legend has it that Liu developed soymilk for his ailing mother because she wanted to taste the soybeans but was too sick to chew. So Liu grounded the soybeans into milk and created tofu.
Tofu is made up of three ingredients: soybeans, water and a coagulant – usually magnesium chloride or gypsum (calcium sulfate). The difference between firm tofu and the tofu in doufu hua is that the latter simply contains more water.
Where to eat it?
Tak Hing Lung in Hong Kong is a great place to try doufu hua. The shop sells a variety of tofu products – from firm tofu used for cooking to tofu skins and tofu puffs – the one-stop tofu shop. Address: 1 Marble Road, North Point, Hong Kong; Tel: 852-2563-8815
Sichuan restaurant San Xi Lou makes doufu hua right in front of its patrons. Address: 7/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Mid-Levels; Tel: 852-2838-8811
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