After all the excesses that come with the festive period (which, yes has lasted for me until February) I always find myself craving lighter, more simple food. This week I’ve been heading back to the gym, and forcing myself to try more things that I was afraid to do, which aside from my forays into dance classes – it turns out I was born to be in a Bollywood movie – has included pushing myself out of my food comfort zones.
Do you guys fall into paterns of cooking the same sorts of things most nights? For me, I often find myself falling back on roast vegetable salads, spinach and tomato salads and grilled meats most night for dinner, and a smoked sea salt hot chocolate or homemade ice cream for dessert. While those things are delicious don’t get me wrong, I’m the sort of person who loves to experiment.
So if we combine this love of experimenting with a craving for lighter and yes; cleansing food, I’ve found myself going on somewhat of a detox this week. For me personally (and I’m not advocating that you follow my food plan) that means I’ve been eating a lot of cucumber marinated in chilli and garlic, protein shakes, and a heck of a lot of silken tofu.
Tonight I was craving something sweet, but din’t want to A) put a lot of work into it or B) have anything too heavy. Turning to the fridge for my salvation, I saw a block of silken tofu. I’d been thinking about making douhua, a silken tofu pudding that is popular in Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisene, for awhile now, and seeing as it was literally the only thing in my fridge now was the time.
This version is a very simple take on douhua, which can be served both sweet and savory. Traditionally fresh ginger is infused into a simple syrup, however all I had was freeze-dried ginger powder, so I used that instead. I can’t say if it compares to fresh ginger, but I can tell you that using the ginger powder produced an amazing result. Just in case you are wondering about the mystery empty bowl in the back of this photo… I have only just realised that white bowl plus white sugar makes your bowl look empty.
It couldn’t be more simple, insude the syrup for 10 minutes for a more subtle ginger flavor or up to 30 minutes if you want a strong ginger kick and then pour over the silken tofu and enjoy. I prefer my tofu broken up into smaller, rustic chunks so that the ginger syrup coats it more thoroughly, but I have seen it prepared with a large block of the tofu. I was a little nervous about making this, unsure if I’d like tofu in a sweet arena or not, but it turns out this was everything I wanted it to be: soft, creamy, sweet and light, delicious.
100 grams silken tofu
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freeze dried ginger or 2 cm long chunk of fresh giner.
Combine the water and the sugar in a small saucepan over a high heat until boiling and then reduce the heat to low, stirring until the sugar dissolves. If using fresh ginger, peel and slice it into thin rounds. Add the ginger to the simple syrup mix and let it infuse for a minimum of ten minutes (I simmered mine for about 20 minutes which gave me quite a sweet syrup that had a kick of ginger heat right at the end, my preference). If using the powdered ginger, make sure you stir the syrup until it dissolves into it – mine had a tendancy to try and just float on the top.
While the ginger syrup is infusing cut or break the tofu into small chunks and put into your bowl of choice. You can choose your own ratio of tofu to syrup, but I preferred to have mostly tofu with just enough syrup to coat the pieces so that the nutty flavour of the tofu complemented the overall flavor, rather than getting masked.
Once the syrup has reached your desired strength, pour through a strainer over the tofu and serve immediately. This is great piping hot in the colder winter months, or you can chill it in the fridge until icy to enjoy in summer.