"I love it because it’s got a beautiful soft texture and a subtle, ginger sweetness that make it so fabulous to eat. It also has a degree of elegance. This dish is made across Asia, but I didn’t realise that included Indonesia until I started seeing it in the lovely old Gang Gloria market in Jakarta’s Chinatown, which makes perfect sense as it originated in China and, where you get Chinese, you get versions of their dishes." Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's Street Food Asia
Tofu really has a sensational sweet side as Luke Nguyen shares on of his all-time favourite desserts.
- 1 litre (4 cups) Asian sweetened soy milk (see Note)
- 1½ tsp nigari powder (see Note)
- 5 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced
- 250 ml (1 cup) freshly squeezed mandarin juice
- 100 g (½ cup) brown sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 2 hours or overnight if time permits
Heat the soy milk in a saucepan until you see some steam starting to rise, but not at boiling point. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the nigari powder until fully dissolved. Pour into a bowl and stand until cool.
Once cooled, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the milk to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but overnight is better if time permits.
Place the ginger, mandarin juice and brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a jug and reserve the sliced ginger. The syrup can be served warm or at room temperature.
To serve, use a spatula to slice delicate slivers of the tofu into a small bowl, then pour 2–3 tablespoons of the ginger syrup over the top and garnish with a little reserved ginger.
• Asian sweetened soy milk is available from Asian markets.
• Nigari powder is food grade magnesium chloride typically used as the setting agent in tofu. Available from specialist food stores or online.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok.