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mcohen   

When I go to a Chinese restaurant, I always hope they end it almond tofu for dessert. Fortune cookies aren't even really Chinese, and I could eat oranges at home.

However, I can't seem to duplicate making almond tofu at home that tastes as good as the really good ones in a Chinese restaurant. I've searched on the internet and followed the recipes, and bought the almond tofu that came in a can or a box that they sell in Chinese grocery stores. But, none of them contained that same elusive almond taste in a really great almond tofu.

What am I doing wrong? What's the ancient Chinese secret to making almond tofu?

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Dejah   

Is it traditonal dim sum restaurants where you've had the great almond tofu?

In dim sum restaurant, they usually serve tofu fah - which is totally different from the almond tofu you can buy, or make at home, unless you are making tofu from scratch at home. That's the ancient Chinese secret. :wink:

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Beebs   

My husband makes it out of a box and it's fantastic. He uses heavy cream + milk (instead of just plain milk) and throws in extra almond extract. I think that's the secret - a liberal pour of almond extract. He also claims that the brands from Taiwan are better than the Chinese ones (unfortunately, the name escapes me - will have to check).

I guess technically the almond "tofu" that you get for dessert or at dimsum isn't really tofu, since it's made with dairy, not soy. Although you can buy almond-flavoured soft tofu dessert - tofu fah, as Dejah mentions - which is made with soy and tastes distinctly bean-y.

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sheetz   

Well, if it's the stuff that's served for dessert after a meal then that's definitely almond tofu. Sometimes they make it with gelatin, but mostly I think it's made with agar. In general I've never really thought it was all that hard to make. I would think the majority of restaurants use either a mix or flavor it with almond extract. What recipes are you using?


Edited by sheetz (log)

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nakji   

I've never heard of/seen/tasted this before...but it sounds delicious. What are the characters, 豆腐...? And would I be more likely to find this at a Dim Sum place, or bubble-tea style of place?

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sheetz   

The characters are 杏仁豆腐.

I found this video on Youtube of a woman making almond tofu the very traditional way using almond milk, agar, and rock sugar. It's in Cantonese but it should be pretty self evident what's going on.


Edited by sheetz (log)

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mcohen   

In general I've never really thought it was all that hard to make. I would think the majority of restaurants use either a mix or flavor it with almond extract. What recipes are you using?

The recipes I found on the internet used almond extract, canned fruit, gelatin, etc.. I don't doubt that that's what most chinese places do, but I'm not interested in that- most of the almond tofus in those places aren't that good.

Instead, I'm searching for the trick, technique, secret, or whatever you want to call it when you stumble upon really great almond tofu. Out of 10 chinese places that serve almond tofu, maybe only 1 of them has the almond tofu I'm looking for. Its got this elusive, deeper almond taste that I haven't captured yet when I try to make it at home.

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mcohen   

I found this video on Youtube of a woman making almond tofu the very traditional way using almond milk, agar, and rock sugar. It's in Cantonese but it should be pretty self evident what's going on.

Can somebody please translate what she's saying. I think she's using two different types of almonds?!

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What you probably tasted was bitter almonds in the almond tofu.

According to FDA rules and regulations, they're not supposed to use it in a dish much less sell it in the grocery market because of the cynaide in those bitter almonds. But, you can find in Chinese supermarkets, although they may be mis-labeled to avoid FDA regulations.

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mcohen   

So, the only I can eat authentic almond tofu if I'm willing to poison myself? What is this, the Chinese version of fugu?

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Dejah   

As mentioned in the youtube video, she only used "a few" of the bitter almonds because it is stronger in almond flavour. I don't think anyone has to worry about cyanide poisoning. My grandmother-in-law always put bits of apricot pits(cyanide)in her peach and apricot conserve for a touch of bitterness to the sweetness. And she lived to be healthy 87. I've also added a few to one of my Chinese herbal soups.

If you are concerned, I am sure you can substitute a good quality almond extract for the flavour boost.

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keri   

My mom always used to make this and if I remember correctly, it's just out of a box.

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This is the brand we always got, I think. You should be able to find it in most Chinese stores. I'm not really sure what the deeper almond taste you mean is, but this stuff always tasted pretty good. Just make sure you use less liquid (milk, water or whatever) than the recipe indicates so you end up with a more dense "tofu", both in firmness and flavor. And no, it's definitely not tofu. More like an almond-flavored jello.

As for bitter almonds, they do contain trace amounts of cyanide, but poisoning is rare and the amount of cyanide is affected by soil conditions, watering, etc. Looking it up, it IS possible. There's 4 to 9 mg of cyanide per almond and a minimum lethal dose is 50 mg or 0.5 mg per kg of body weight, so you wouldn't have to ingest many to make you sick. But then again, they do contain essential oils which might be that missing flavor you want. Up to you if you want to risk it, but anecdotally, I used to eat them all the time as a kid and never got sick from them, and it should have taken only 1-2 almonds.

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bague25   

I have a related questions for our experts here :-)

I have just got myself a packet of nigari. Can I make tofu using home made almond milk? Not with agar-agar but with nigari (Magnesium chloride)?

Thanks

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