"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

My Taho Quick-Fix

Just like when I made my puto, I don't always try to make things from scratch. If there's a way to easily make them without making a two-hour trip to an Asian store, or without making a trip all the way back to the Philippines, I will try to find that way.

Well, this quick-fix taho was actually an idea from my good friend Ana.

My only problem is that I have not really learned how to cook sago the right way, without a hard uncooked middle, even for the larger ones. Can anyone teach me how???

I cooked the sago first (still unsuccessful to come up with fully cooked sago). Then I spooned out some tofu, placed in a small ramekin, added maple syrup and sago, then microwaved in increments of 30 seconds until I was satisfied with the hotness. Expect to see more water as you heat up. I just scooped out as much of this excess water as I could, just like the magtataho used to do when serving me taho (I was a loyal customer from childhood to adulthood).

{See down below for a procedure to cook sago from a reader}

UPDATE 2/22/09
I would like to post here what Ria (of Sweden) does for her taho fix. Maybe others can do the same:
hi manang! this ria, your reader from sweden. dito walang silken tofu, plus hubby and the children love it kaya ang ginagawa ko to have our taho fix is buy soya milk (no calcium) and add a little tofu coagulator (food grade gypsum) that i bought from an online wholistic store and some cassava starch. i love using dark muscovado for my arnibal and small tapioca pearls. for the small tapioca pearls, i cook them first and after the water boils, i let them sit for about 10 minutes with pot cover on (hindi sa stove top). after they sit i boil them again and let them sit again for 10 minutes....voila, they're done after that.
Thanks for the info, Ria!

UPDATE 8/02/09:
For those who might be interested in the procedure, I have these recipes below which I saved a long time ago from the DOST tecknotulong website (which now seems gone). I myself have never tried to make them, but I am posting here for the benefit of those who ask. Please do not ask me any further questions regarding these recipes because I would not know anything beyond posting them here.:


3 cups mature and newly harvested soybeans
2 bars white gulaman
3 cups brown sugar
strainer (muslin or nylon cloth)


1. Soak soybeans overnight in water 3 times its volume.

2. Remove outer covering, grind; add water little by little (at least 6 cups) while grinding.

3. Dissolve 2 bars gulaman in boiling water (7 cups).

4. Pour the ground soybean in boiling gulaman for 7 minutes or until the odor of grains is removed.

5. Set aside until it coagulates.

6. Serve with syrup.

Syrup is prepared as follows:

3 cups sugar is dissolved in 3 cups water. The sugar may be caramelized to improve color and flavor.

Source: The Philippine Recommends for Soybean PCARRD 1991


Instead of soybeans, coconut milk may be used with gulaman in making taho.


1. Mix pure coconut milk with equal volume of water and heat.

2. In a container, dissolve 1/4 gulaman bar in water, boil.

3. Strain the dissolved gulaman and coconut milk. Heat and stir continuously for at least 20 minutes.

4. Pour into molds and allow to cool and harden.

To make syrup:

Dissolve 2 cups brown sugar in one cup water. Heat until thick.



Thanks to Kayenne's Kitchen for the procedure!

feel free to teach others. I first cooked sago when I was around 8 or 9 years old, I think - being a kitchen busybody and bored with plain flavored gulaman from the packets and sick of canned pineapple tidbits. The process was explained to me by an aunt and the house cook then.

You will need 2 pots with lids, one stove burner, a kitchen spoon and a strainer.

Fill one pot with water and set it to boil over medium heat. There should be enough water to more than fully thrice cover the sago pearls. Remember that the sago will expand as it cooks.

When the water is boiling, add the sago pearls and give it a good stir to ensure that the sago does not stick together. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, cover and steep until the water cools to just very warm. (on hot days, this can take up to 30 minutes.)

Pour hot sago over the strainer to the 2nd pot, saving the cooking water. Set the second pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Rinse the sago in the strainer quickly until just cool, breaking up clumps, drain.

When the water boils in the 2nd pot, return the sago to the boiling pot and boil again for 10 minutes. Repeat process for up to 3 times, depending on the size of the sago.

Rinse for the final time when the sago is cooked through. Add more water to the cooking liquid when necessary.

*Steeping allows you to save on gas/electricity vs continuous boiling. Rinsing the sago is to wash off excess starch. This prevents the sago from sticking together and keeps the outside from overcooking, giving you a sticky mess.

I usually make a lot, since it is a time-consuming process and can be frozen(do not overcooked, if you will freeze it - just thaw and give it a hot water rinse. I haven't cooked sago for a long time now, but I think, if you want to make a sweeter sago, you can add sugar on the last boiling/steeping process. Don't add sugar too early, it will keep the sago from cooking well.


  1. You've read my mind once again! My husband loves taho/soft tofu but we can't find a decent version at any of the Chinese and dim sum restaurants in the area. He's going to love this!!

  2. great idea! lassang taho talaga?

  3. Hi Manang! I just watched Anthony Bourdain No Reservations: Philippines this week and it sure made me miss all the great food back in PI. Taho definitely brings back happy childhood memories. I've made taho using silken tofu and it's spot on.
    I boiled some brown sugar and water to make arnibal(syrup). As for the sago, I was taught to soak the tapioca pearls overnight before cooking them. But I read somewhere online that you can also just cook them first, turn off the heat then let them sit until they cook all the way through.

  4. Oh wow! Would any kind of silk tofu do?

  5. TN,
    I am not sure if this is more decent that what you and your hubby have had; I just had to content myself with what I got since I don't think putting effort into making this from scratch is not gonna be worth it. I am the only one eating this at my present home. My boys don't remember taho. :(

  6. cel,
    lasang taho naman. Mas matubig nga lang to. Maybe you can heat up separately ung taho and yung syrup.

  7. AOD,
    Thanks for the tips on proper cooking of sago and your method for arnibal!

    I think so, although this is the only brand I have tried.

  8. hi manang! this ria, your reader from sweden. dito walang silken tofu, plus hubby and the children love it kaya ang ginagawa ko to have our taho fix is buy soya milk (no calcium) and add a little tofu coagulator (food grade gypsum) that i bought from an online wholistic store and some cassava starch. i love using dark muscovado for my arnibal and small tapioca pearls. for the small tapioca pearls, i cook them first and after the water boils, i let them sit for about 10 minutes with pot cover on (hindi sa stove top). after they sit i boil them again and let them sit again for 10 minutes....voila, they're done after that.

  9. Ria,
    thanks a lot for that info. I updated my post to include your helpful tip. I may not have to do what you are doing, but others who don't have access to silken tofu might want to try your method. :)

  10. i wanna try this recipe. i love taho and i have a craving for it..:)

  11. Hi Manang,

    Can we ask Ria of Sweden about measurements of the ingredients (soymilk, coagulator & cassava starch)?
    I am just too eager to try this recipe. Tagal ko na hinahanap (nung 4 weeks pa lang si baby si tummy, 4 months na siya ngayon sa loob, abot pa sa paglilihi)
    Thanks a lot!

  12. Thanks manang for calling my attention to Ryanne's query!


    I usually buy alpro soya milk (1 liter). We have two kinds of alpro milk here, one is natural and one is with extra calcium. I have used both kinds and the results i get from the extra calcium one isn't as what i would like my taho to be. Hindi maayos yung pag-coagulate ng soya milk. The natural one on the other hand always gives me great results!

    As for the coagulant, i bought food grade gypsum from this site from the U.K.
    This was imported from the U.S. and according to the label: For reorders, contact www.soymilkquick.com)

    From the research I made from various forums and blogs about Tau fu fa/ Taho, it seems that the best coagulant to use when making this is food grade gypsum as it does not leave a sour taste like lemon or vinegar does or a little bit of bitter aftertaste like nigari does.

    First, put the milk in a pot and bring to a boil under medium heat. Stir the pot to avoid milk getting burned at the bottom. Set the pot aside. In a deep and wide casserole or pot, mix 3 tbsp of water, 1 tsp potato starch, 1 tsp (heaping) gypsum powder and 2 tsp corn starch (I mistakenly wrote cassava starch in my previous post, I should have written corn starch). Keep on stirring this mixture until you are ready to pour the milk in.

    Now here comes the crucial part. I have tried making taho in different ways (even sorted to making them from scratch and finally giving up because I couldn't get my soybean:water ratio for the soymilk right). When you mix in the soymilk, it has to be poured into the gypsum/cornstarch mixture IN A STRAIGHT GUSH. This is to make sure that the mixture is evenly displaced for the coagulant to work properly.

    I found this youtube link to be quite helpful in showing how to pour the milk. Do not move the casserole until your taho has set, para di ma-disturb ang coagulation.


    at 2:51 you can see the method i use and how to pour the milk in one gush which gives better results

    As for the arnibal, I usually do 1:1 ratio of dark muscovado sugar and water. The arnibal thickens as it cools.

    I hope this helps! Enjoy your taho! =)


  13. Thank you very much! I'll definitely try this one out. Sana available ang mga ingredients dito sa NZ.
    Yesterday, as I was really craving for taho, I went to an Asian store and tried out what they call soft tofu. Pumasa namang taho after mai-init sa microwave and didn't have trouble either with the sago and arnibal. Kaya masaya na rin at nakatikim ng taho. I'm looking forward to making my own pa rin, as I want a softer texture.
    Salamat ulit!


  14. email me if you want help with the sago cooking. =)

  15. hi, im looking for the actual procedure of making this taho quick. my hubby likes it when we went visit the philippines, and he misses it in there having a nice pandesal and taho can someone help me out/.. tnxs a lot .jane

  16. Hi jane,
    I posted an update to include the procedure for making taho, although I cannot say it is quick. I do not think you can really make taho quick unless you use shortcuts.
    I hope the recipes above help!

  17. Hi Manang, I noticed that the comments were sent over a year ago on Taho. I've just read them tonight. I know it is late to make a comment, but as the saying goes,"better late than never.

    I buy the Tofu Mix House brand). The instruction calls for 5 1/2 cups water (that is to make tofu) but since I am making taho, I add 1 more cup of water.The instructions are all in the box.After I put in the coagulating agent, I pour it right away in a corning square pan.It forms fast so you can eat your taho at once.

  18. HI Eva S.,
    Wow, thanks for that tip! I looked it up in amazon.com and they have that on the list but currently not available, so I signed up to be notified when they do have it. I think it would be perfect for cravings! I will just stock up one available.

  19. I try 3 recipe from yours and nothing come out good, even my 2 friends they are having they same problem on the recipes.

  20. Hi Anonymous,
    Maybe you needed further clarification from the procedures. Maybe you and your two friends have a hard time following the instructions? I am sorry about your limited skills to come up with satisfactory outcome, but I and my >2000 followers have been having a blast trying one recipe after another.
    Goodluck to you and your two friends in finding a better foodblog that you can actually produce satisfactory results with. I am sure there are tons out there.

  21. Manang what I use here is called Dessert Tofu. They are soft and u can scoop them like how the magtataho does :) I usually heat it up alone so that I can get rid of the excess liquid. I make arnibal by mixing brown sugar and water, heat in the microwave til sugar melts. Mix together and enjoy!
    I omit sago coz I also fail to cook them right. Can u post how u cook yours, maybe someone can correct our mistakes. I have the same tapioca pearls as yours.
    Thanks for the efforts manang. Appreciate it a lot.

  22. Hi Unknown, Thanks for your comment. What would be your measurement/ratio for the brown sugar and water? I edited the post above to include the procedure to cook sago by someone who has learned to do so since she was a young girl. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see it. :)

  23. Hi manang, hope u wil read this. Gumawa aq ng taho kanina using powdered gelatin at ok naman xa pero nung knain q super soft xa at parang hnd aq satisfied sa taste mismo ng soya. Hope u can help me if anu b kulang o sobra dun pls

  24. hello, kung gelatin powder ang gagamitin. Ilan packet po ang para sa recepe ninyo?


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