Chinese food:Dofu Fa

Dofa fa is a popular northern Chinese treat. Edible Terra alba is also called food-grade gypsum or food-grade calcium sulfate.


11 ounces (about 1 lb) soy beans
water for soaking beans
7 cups water
edible terra alba* (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
10 ounces sugar or brown sugar
1 cup water
2 pieces lemon or a little vinegar

Rinse the soybeans until the water runs clear. Put the beans in a pot and add water. (The water should be three times the amount of the soybeans).
Soak the beans until they expand to 2 or 2 1/2 times their original size.
For the syrup: Bring the sugar to a boil. Add the water and lemon or vinegar and set aside. (Note: some Cantonese recipes call for a bit of ginger; you can also add a pinch of white pepper).
Mix 1/2 cup water with the cornstarch and terra alba and set aside. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water. Add 6 more cups of water. Blend the soy bean and water mixture (if using a small blender you will have to do this step in batches).
Use a gauze such as cheesecloth to squeeze out the liquid. Retain the liquid and remove the dregs (sediment) from the processed soybean/water mixture.
Pour the liquid (soybean milk) into a pot. Add 1/2 cup water and cook on low heat until it comes to a boil and is foaming nicely. Remove from the heat and filter out any scum, using the gauze again if necessary.
Return to the pot and bring to a boil again, adding the edible terra alba when boiling.
Turn off the heat but do not move the pot (never move the soymilk until it has jelled). Cover with a towel for about thirty minutes. Drain off any scum. Add the syrup and serve.

*Edible terra alba is used as a food binder. Other names for edible terra alba are food-grade gypsum or food-grade calcium sulfate.
Note: You can add other flavors like chocolate, sesame or peanut, just grind to a powder and cook with the milk or spread on top. Also, a quick and easy way to make dofu fa is simply to add soybean milk (available at Asian markets) to the edible terra alba and any toppings or syrup that you would like.

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