Douhua 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Silky Dessert
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Though there are regional variants of douhua, it is primarily a smooth, sweet, and silky tofu dish that is appreciated across Asia, notably China. Translating as "flower of the soybean" or "tofu flower," the name refers to the way it spreads and floats, resembling rose petals in syrup. In Beijing and other Northern Chinese cities, where it's called doufunao, or "tofu brain," you're more likely to come across a savoury version served with sauce and mushrooms on top, or a spicy one served with chilli crisp oil, similar to how congee is eaten for breakfast. Even so, the douhau being discussed now is either sweet or not very sweet, though there's usually something to suit every palate.

The History Of Douhua

Tofu is said to have originated during the Han Dynasty in ancient China, which lasted from 202 BC to 220 AD. Legend has it that Liu An, the grandson of Emperor Gao, was trying to create a cuisine that would grant mankind immortality.

It was from his trials mixing brine with soybean milk that he created what is today called tofu. It was discovered that this coagulated off-white material was very edible, even though it would not prolong life.

It was given the name "douhua" for its soft texture and quickly gained popularity as a snack meal. Its fame grew over the next two millennia across the remainder of China.

Variants Of Douhua

Douhua is a very adaptable dish that works well in savoury and sweet variations, as well as spicy ones.

Douhua is one of the hot foods from Sichuan that are well-known. This well-liked street dish is typically accompanied by spring onions, almonds, soy sauce, and other condiments. It is flavoured with the region's well-known chilli oil and Sichuan pepper.

Beijing's salty "tofu brain," which is bean curd served with soy sauce and additional savoury toppings like pickles, minced pork, and mushrooms, is one of the savoury variations of douhua. Along the Northern shore, seaweed and tiny prawns are added.

Served with eggs and youtiao (fried dough sticks), douhua is a popular breakfast dish that is often offered at food stands every morning. Douhua is frequently consumed in Taiwan and Canton as a component of yum cha, or brunch. Taiwanese douhua is typically served with soy milk, peanuts, taro balls, and either red or mung beans. The most diversified varieties are the sweet douhuas, which are offered all across Southeast Asia and China. Tofu pudding is typically served with plain, jasmine or ginger syrup in Southern China. Douhua is frequently served with sesame paste in Hong Kong.