Green tea silken tofu

Following my attempt at making firm tofu using nigari as a coagulant, I picked up some Glucono-Delta Lactone (GDL) coagulant at Phoon Huat and decided to give this dessert-style tofu pudding (a.k.a. 豆花 douhua/tau huay/ tau foo fah) a go. GDL is thought to be a more healthy coagulant compared to inorganic calcium compounds.

Unlike moulded tofu, silken tofu doesn’t require any special container and produces a greater volume of tofu in relation to the amount of soya milk used. Typically, it takes less than an hour to be ready for serving.

William Shurtleff’s Book of Tofu says that

[GDL is] an organic acid that solidifies soymilk in much the same was that lactic acid or a yoghurt starter is used to curdle dairy milk. A newly discovered solidifier made from natural gluconic acid, lactone makes it possible for the first time to solidify very thin soymilk, and even cold soymilk, by simply heating it to somewhat below the boiling point.


Following the recipe in Shurtleff’s Book of Tofu:
1 tsp lactone, dissolved in 2 Tbs water
3 1/4 cups soya bean milk
1 Tbs matcha green tea powder
3 Tbs sugar or honey

1) First, I began by making soya bean milk and measured out 3 1/4 cups whilst it was still hot.
2) Mixed in 1 Tbs green tea matcha powder and 3 Tbs sugar. As matcha often clumps up, it helps to sift it into the milk and use a whisk to make sure it is thoroughly incorporated.
3) Dissolved the 1 tsp lactone in 2 Tbs of water.
4) Poured the lactone solution into the soya bean milk, whilst gently stirring.
5) I made individual portions by dividing the still liquid soya bean milk into 6 custard cups. You can also leave the tofu to set inside a single pot. There is no separation of curds and whey, unlike the other method of making firm tofu.
6) The Book of Tofu says to let the soya milk stand uncovered for half an hour while it cools and sets, then cover with cling film and refrigerate. I made the mistake of covering the custard cups with cling film right away, and ended up with condensation on the inside.

Verdict: compared to commercially prepared tofu, mine definitely tasted like an amateur’s attempt. The texture, while very light and soft, could have been smoother. There was also a faint sour taste The green tea flavour was quite subtle, and the amount of sugar was just nice – I wonder what it would have tasted like without any sugar at all?

Anyhow, this is definitely worth another try. The Book of Tofu says that nigari makes the most delicate and delicious silken tofu, so I may use that alternative the next time.

My previous tofu-making postings:
Coagulants for homemade tofu
Making tofu at home
Making tofu at home P.S.
Another word on tofu coagulants

11 Responses

  1. this green tea tofu sounds amazing! and wow, i really admire you for your efforts in trying to make tofu (and other things like soy sauce) yourself.

  2. Thanks, Joyce :). Food intolerances forces one to get into the DIY frame of mind.

    Haha, I haven’t tried the soya sauce yet. I learnt from a food science person who used to work in Kikkoman that you must be very careful that the fermentation process doesn’t inadvertently attract toxic bacteria instead!! Yikes, I think I might hold off on the homemade soya sauce for now.

  3. Hello
    Can you please say what “cup” measurement exactly means in this recipe, as i cannot make the right proportion :( I am using gypsum – you do not know by any chance if there is the same quantity, as lactone should be used in the recipe?

  4. Dear Ogla,

    I use standard cup measurement of 250ml.

    The measurements for gypsum might be different. I suggest you refer directly to Shurtleff’s Book of Tofu for the right quantities. Much of the book is available online via GoogleBooks – please click the link above.

    Good luck with your tofu making!

  5. Looks good! Btw, 1tsp for that amount of soymilk is too much. I only use 1/4tsp for 1.25L of freshly-boiled soymilk and it already has that milk sour flavour. It’s the GDL that imparts that acidic characteristic. Also, the more GDL you add, the tougher and more rubbery the curds will be. I’ll be trying 1/8tsp the next time round to try and get even softer curds. Mmm mmm… ;)

    Olga: I tried gypsum powder (aka plaster of paris) but it always turns out powdery. I strongly suggest that you use GDL. Further, GDL seems to produce smoother curds.

    Have fun with tauhuay!

  6. Hi xyrik,

    Oh wow, thanks for that expert advice! Will try less GDL next time. Hmmm… how is it that the ‘bible’ of tofu by Shurtleff doesn’t have the best quantities for making GDL silken tofu :)?!

  7. It seems that the milk from different types of soyabeans require different amounts of GDL to coagulate properly. I recently purchased a new batch of soyabeans and the 1/4tsp used in my previous post, was too little. I upped the amount to 3/8tsp and it turned out really well, similar to what you’d find in Singapore’s hawker centres. Btw, does anyone know where to find nigari (bittersalt)?

  8. And oh… Recipes often work when the exact specified ingredients are used in the making of the dish. More often than usual, you have to tweak it to the characteristics of the local ingredients, and of course, to your tastes.

    Where did you find nigari btw? Phoon Huat too? I’m interested in using that ‘coz it supposedly produces a softer curd without the sour flavour.

  9. Hi Xyrik,

    Thanks so much for the info.

    I bought nigari at Nature’s Glory . Have not seen it at Phoon Huat (where I bought GDL).

  10. Your green tea tofu looks REALLY REALLY GOOD!

    Since your previous tofu making post says using nigari imparts a sweeter flavour, would it be better to use nigari instead? I’ve been wanting to make something green tea, this looks like a perfect recipe but it seems hard to do~

  11. Hi Seri,

    Thanks! I used GDL here because it produces the much softer ‘silken tofu’ texture, whereas nigari will give a a firmer texture for making solid cakes of tofu.

    The taste of my 1st attempt green tea silken tofu wasn’t great. It will take some practice. I’d say it’s easy to get the soy milk to coagulate properly but getting the taste right is harder.

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