Growing up in a small and sleepy town in the Philippines, I remember hearing the local street vendors calling out thus was enough to get me scrambling out of bed even in the early morning. Yup, taho—a pudding made out of very soft, silky tofu with sago (tapioca) pearls drizzled with arnibal (brown sugar syrup)—has always been one of my favourite (early morning) snacks.
When I emigrated almost 20 years ago, taho is one of the Filipino delicacies I promised myself I would try to have a taste of at least once every time we are in the country for a visit. This year, however, was a bit different: being busy with the final touches to our own place (we usually stay over at Mom’s) sort of got in the way—that, and having our place located on the fifth floor. Anyway, at first it was okay—I told myself when we got back here in Norway, there’s always next year…
THEN I suddenly got this craving a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t wait until next year 😅
Thankfully, there is the internet… and Pinterest 😋 I found several very easy recipes that only required using commercially bought silky tofu and making your own arnibal. I tried them and, although they were okay, they were not exactly the same as the ones back in the Philippines—the tofu is a bit firmer in texture and it had a savoury aftertaste reminiscent of the tofu you use as a meat substitute. So, it was back to the drawing board and this time, I realised I should look for recipes on how to make my own silky tofu.
I found several recipes for making silky tofu using different coagulants: food grade gypsum (calcium sulfate), food grade Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), nigari (magnesium chloride), and agar-agar. I’m sharing the recipe using agar-agar mainly because all the other coagulants are not as easy to get a hold of here (I had to order the food grade gypsum at Amazon and it will be arriving sometime between 6 November and 26 November; the Epsom salt is available in limited stocks at one of the health stores here, but I won’t be able to check until at least tomorrow at the earliest).
NOTE: since the recipe used only agar-agar, the resulting tofu could only be eaten cold. Heating the tofu in the microwave, even at the half power for 20 seconds, would melt it—I tried.