How to Make Sweet Tofu

How to Make Sweet Tofu

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Makes: 4-6 Servings | Prep Time: 2 Hours | Cook Time: 1 Hour
Adapted From: Ellen’s Kitchen

Sweet tofu is a smooth, silken tofu, as opposed to the tofu used in a savory dish. The tofu is usually served in a sweet syrup made from ginger and rock sugar.

This is an authentic, real-deal recipe for making sweet tofu, not necessarily for novices. You’ll be making raw soy milk and then coagulating it with calcium sulfate. Shortcuts include using unsweetened soy milk from a carton and agar agar powder in place of the calcium sulfate.

If this recipe proves too challenging, you can always make another dim sum favorite in its place, the almond gelatin that’s almost always served with canned fruit salad. In this case, you can find boxed mixes at any Asian grocery store.

Can you share any expert tips from your experience making sweet tofu? Want to ask a question before you try making it yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Sweet Tofu Recipe

Makes: 4-6 Servings | Prep Time: 2 Hours | Cook Time: 1 Hour
Adapted From: Ellen’s Kitchen


2 cups soy beans, preferably large low oil type
7 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon calcium sulfate (also called food grade gypsum or edible terra alba)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

8 ounces fresh ginger
2 cups water
1/4 cup granulated sugar


1. For the syrup, first grate the ginger. In a saucepan, combine ginger, water and sugar and simmer over low heat until sugar dissolves. Strain before serving.

2. Separately, rinse the soybeans, place in a pot and cover with 6 cups of water. Soak the beans for 2 hours or until they expand to 2-2 1/2 times their original size.

3. Finally, mix 1/2 cup water with the cornstarch and terra alba and set aside.

4. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water. Add 6 more cups of water. Blend the soy bean and water mixture. Pour this slurry into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let the liquid drain through to your cooking pot, gathering the slurry up into a bag-like shape to squeeze out the remaining liquid. Retain the liquid and remove any fiberous portion from the soybean and water mixture. You will have about 3-4 quarts of raw soy milk.

5. Pour the liquid into a 6-8 quart pot at least twice as big as the amount of liquid. Stir in 1/2 cup water and cook on low heat until it comes to a boil and is foaming nicely. Remove from the heat and skim, filter out any scum, using the gauze again if necessary.

6. Return to the pot and bring back to a boil. Stir the dissolved edible terra alba and cornstarch again. When the soy milk boils, pour it over the milk and cut into the liquid with a rapid cutting motion without whipping or beating it.

7. Turn off the heat, but do not move the pot until the soy milk has jelled. Cover with a towel for about thirty minutes. Drain off any scummy liquid that forms on top once the tofu has set.

8. Dish up and serve warm or chilled, using a big shallow ladle and combining with the ginger syrup to taste.

Learn more about Sweet Tofu from these Experts

Watch Blanch Turnip make Sweet Tofu using just soy milk (VIDEO)
I At My Way Through makes Sweet Tofu, again using a recipe with soy milk
Roti n Rice makes a version of sweet tofu using agar gelatin that’s easy for home cooks

HT: Photo by abelataha via Flickr.

  1. Bonny Radez

    Sweet “tofu” made with agar is easier but it has a completely different texture and taste. Many people like both kinds but they are 2 different menu items.

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