Tofu comes in different consistencies, with soft, medium and firm being the primary types available in most stores. While I like to deep-fry and use firm tofu as a protein alternative in stir-fry dishes, I usually enjoy the extra soft variety chilled and topped with a handful of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and a generous drizzle of soy sauce. It was during one of these occasions when a realization dawned on me. This silken type of tofu is what is used for taho!
Taho is a Philippine delicacy made of silken tofu, sago pearls and a thick sugar syrup called arnibal. This popular street food is commonly peddled on the streets in large aluminum buckets and is often served warm. To re-create the experience at home, I usually steam the silken tofu block for a few minutes but quickly zapping it in the microwave works, too. The arnibal is pretty easy to make, just equal parts of brown sugar and water simmered over low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture slightly thickens. I like to add vanilla extract or pandan leaves for a boost of flavor. I also like to briefly simmer the cooked sago in the syrup to absorb a bit of the sweetness. You can check out how I make super chewy sago –>here.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 pandan leaf tied into a knot
- 1 cup cooked sago
- 2 12 ounces each packs extra soft tofu
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add water and bring to a boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and discard pandan leaf. Add brown sugar. Stir continously until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, stirring continously, until mixture slightly thickens. Add cooked sago and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place tofu block on a cheesecloth-lined steamer and steam for about 7 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, place tofu in a oven-safe dish, loosely wrap with plastic film and microwave for about 40 to 50 seconds or until heated through.
- Using a wide, flat serving spoon, divide tofu into serving bowls. Spoon sago and syrup on top. Serve warm.