Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let Them Eat Tau Huay

A versatile Asian delicacy, “tau huay”, is eaten as a confection consisting of very smooth tofu (Soya Beancurd) and is simply sweetened with the addition of sugar or sweet syrup. I assume we all know that the consumption of tofu is often the brunt of jokes among westerners, except the ones who have adopted vegetarien diets or are simply on a health food kick. In China it is called douhua (豆花, dòuhuā) or doufuhua (豆腐花, dòufuhuā). It can be found among the street vendor stalls, sold in a plastic bag, or encountered in a Chinese fine dining restaurant, served as a favored dessert. 

Recently, my friend Alan, of the wonderful Travellingfoodies  blog invited me to join an on-line event he titled simply as  “Make and Eat Tau Huay Day”. This was his response to a live event in Singapore, called "Diner en Blanc", which originated in Paris in the 1980s and has since gone round-the-world as a celebration of all things white, especially the food. Apparently the organizers of the event, had responded negatively to a fellow blogger's recent post in which he expressed excitement for the rather "la-di-da", invites-only, affaire' de huat and had posted a suggested menu that included this local favorite.  You can read all about  the behavior of the organizers at Alan's blog

When I read Alan's post in facebook about the behavior of the organizers and their snub of the bloggers, I was not so incensed. The fact is that snooty people have been snooty for a very long time, long before I arrived on this earth. And there will be snooty people for a long time after I depart...what to do? In any case, I have long ago given up trying to unravel the mysteries of our southern neighbor's proclivities. However, Alan's note prompted me to consider  this admittedly humble sweet dish in some depth. The result is that I created a dessert with tau huay as the core ingredient and suitable to be served up as a dessert at any fine dining restaurant, east or west. At least that was my aim, and I will as always, surrender to the judgement of you, my good readers. 

My Quay Lo was quite enthusiastic for my "creation" though I admit that he learned a long time ago to love the variations of tofu and how useful they are when considering neutral flavors in a dish.  Actually, he seemed more angry than I about the Singaporean officials turning their backsides toward what has long been part of our collective traditional food.  When I gave him a serving of my attempt at an elegant pudding with Tau Huay he consumed it (more like "inhaled" it) with relish. I asked him for help in naming of it and he delivered the following to me on a piece of note paper. Without further ado, I am pleased to present, the Faux Marbleized Parfait of Tau Huay, Chocolate Ganache, and Zabaglione with fresh berries and pecan praline. 

Earlier, as he thought about how it should be named, he giggled to himself in a mad and conspiratorial way, while he wrote on the paper. It was quite odd to me as he is not a giggler usually. Then, in the midst of a giggle, he suddenly jumped up and shouted "PERFECT MY DEAR, WE WILL LET THEM EAT TAU HUAY IN DISGUISE".  This was starting to unerve me. I suddenly had images in my head from the musical play  "Les Miserables" and  I thought, are we safe? Had tau huay finally sent my normally loveable Quay Lo over the top? But then I began to understand his thinking. You see, without any thought of revolution or some show of disdain for the holier-than-thou attitude of the Singaporean organizers, I had actually come up with a dish that allowed the tau huay to be featured alongside components that would undoubtedly be liked by the organizers.  In fact, I would hardly call this inventive. It was really simple to understand that while Tau Huay has a beautiful smooth mouthfeel, it has no flavor. It is so flavor neutral that it pairs well with almost anything in which smoothness would be a good added contrast or highlight. My Quay Lo and I both love the complex taste of dark chocolate ganache and the smooth sweetness of a zabaglione made with marsala wine.  Consider both of those in a dish that is also embracing the acidic tartness of the fresh berries and the crunchy sweetness of a pecan praline. Who does not love these things?  The praline pecan and the red currant really dressed up the dessert. A slight twist of a rubber spatula created an amazing marbleized look in the pudding.  It is  all visually appealing. Who said tau huay is too lowly to be placed on the tableau blanc?  Hmpfff I thought.  

Here is the recipe if you wish to try.

Fuax Marbleized Parfait of Tau Huay, Chocolate Ganache, and Zabaglione with Fresh berries and Pecan Praline

Servings: 2


Ingredients:
1 cup soybean pudding (homemade or store bought)
16 blueberries
2 strands of red currants for garnishing

pecan praline ingredients:
4 whole pecan
1 tbs of melted butter
enough sugar to coat the pecan
Method:
Coat pecans in butter and sugar. Place on baking paper on a cookie sheet and toast in oven at 200 degrees C for 5 mins. Remove from oven and set aside.

Chocolate ganache ingredients:
50gm dark chocolate, chopped
62gm whipped cream
Method:
Put the heavy cream in a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon to melt the chocolate.  Set aside.

Zabaglione ingredients:
4 egg yolks
4 tbs castor sugar
2 tbs marsala wine
a pinch of cinnamon
a drop of vanilla extract
Method:
Place egg yolks, and sugar in a large stainless steel bowl. Add a pinch of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract to the yolk mixture. Pour in the Marsala wine. You can use sweet Vermouth as a substitute for the Marsala. 1/4-fill a pot with water, bring the water to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Set the bowl containing the custard mixture over the water without the bottom of the bowl touching the water. Whisk the custard mixture until it reaches the desired consistency of a mousse. Take the bowl of custard out of the pot and set aside.

To assemble the dessert:
Mix soybean pudding, chocolate ganache and zabaglione, to make a marbleized parfait.  Add in berries and currants and mix in till covered by parfait. Transfer to 2 small dessert wine glasses. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge and garnish with pecan praline and red currant before serving.

39 comments:

  1. It's so beautiful! One can't even tell tau huay is there! I would like to try (eating) this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks:D after you try it, will appreciate you let me know how you like it.

      Delete
  2. Well written and beautiful makeover of tau huay u have there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love tau huay...best scooped out from the authentic old wooden barrel and eaten with golden syrup poured over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, but I made this one to show those who said tau huay is too lowly for fine dining.

      Delete
  4. Perfect creation and very classic too! Definitely can be served in 5 stars restaurant :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ann, that is what I aim to achieve. There is no food that is too lowly. It is only a matter in plating to make it look visually appealing.

      Delete
  5. Quay Po, I enjoyed your write up very much. Very well written and you have transformed the humble tau huay to such a classy dessert. This will make those snooty people turn a little bit!

    ReplyDelete
  6. fascinating!


    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^=
    > < } } ( ° >

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see gain Cloudia. Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  7. Wow, your tau huay is so contemporary! And it's so high-end~ Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yvonne, I did this on purpose and I am sure you know why already.

      Delete
  8. Wow is that tau huay? looks fab. Doesn't know tau huya can become so hing end product like what Yvonne mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hehe, any food also can, it is all about food styling and plating them.

      Delete
  9. I love how you presented your tau huay.. and Quay Lo gave it a very nice name.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow!! That's a mouthful, and a very tasty mouthful at that. I love the presentation, it's definitely unique! Mine's so humble in comparison. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelly. Like I said, I did this on purpose. If you ask me, I love the traditional way of eating tau huay the best.

      Delete
  11. This is really really really gorgeous! You'd completely decontructed the traditional form of tau huay and made it food which are worthy of the gods! *salute*!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alan. Looks like mission accomplished.

      Delete
  12. wow a normal dessert selling at the stall can be look so fabulous, very creative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can, it is just like an ordinary looking lady, once dressed up and made up, they look gorgeous.

      Delete
  13. Woow...that looks so gorgeous....so different from the normal look of tau huay.....one look and i just want scoop it out and gulp it all down :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear. If there is not a purpose behind making the tau huay look sophisticated, I prefer its original form anytime.

      Delete
  14. Wow, fusion dessert! I want to try out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes try and then let me know how you like it.

      Delete
  15. this tau huay looks so atas! yum yum yum

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog annant. Thanks for the compliment.

      Delete
  16. I can see why your faux marbleized parfaits were inhaled...I have a feeling my hubby would do the same (I would not mention that there was tofu involved and see his reactions first;)). Such an elegant dessert!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, it will be fun to see if you hubby can tell if there is tofu inside the dessert.

      Delete
  17. never thought it was tau huay till you mentioned. good job!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This sounds delicious but I am not sure I would have the patience to do it all! Have a fantastic week. Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane, I agree with you, that are a lot work to make this one:D Hope you have a great week too. Hugs.

      Delete
  19. saw this in fb, now only got to chance to take a clearer picture. wow! this is world class dessert, man!we love our tau foo fah!

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear from you. Your comments mean a lot to me. Thanks!