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Taho. Layered sweet dessert consisting of silken tofu, arnibal, and tapioca balls

Taho (Filipino Sweet Tofu Dessert)

Taho is a layered dessert made with steamed silken tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago pearls. This is traditionally served warm, but it can also be enjoyed chilled.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 4
Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Sweet Tapioca:

  • 1 cup dried tapioca pearls (boba)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Tofu:

  • 14 oz package silken tofu

Arnibal:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

Sweet Tapioca:*

  1. Fill a heavy bottomed sauce pot with 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Add in dried tapioca pearls. Stir to combine and prevent pearls from sticking together. Allow mixture to continue at a soft boil for about 40 minutes.

  2. At this point, the pearls should look gelatinous. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes until pearls are soft and chewy.

  3. Add brown sugar and continue to simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow tapioca pearls to soak in sugar syrup for 15-20 minutes. Taste to ensure pearls are soft and cooked throughout. If not, contiue to simmer until softened.

  4. As mixture cools, the syrup will thicken. Keep boba mixture warm until ready to assemble.

Tofu:

  1. Steam silken tofu for 10 minutes until cooked throughout. Remove from steamer basket and allow to cool slightly. Set aside.

Arnibal:

  1. In a small sauce pot, bring water and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    *If desired, pandan leaves or vanilla bean may be steeped in arnibal for extra flavor. Alternatively, use a small amount of pandan extract or vanilla extract.

Assembly:

  1. Use a slotted spoon or a shallow ladle to scoop up thin layers of tofu. Place in serving glass. Dizzle a few teaspoons of arnibal over tofu. Follow with a small scoop of sweet tapioca. Repeat layering until serving glass is full.

  2. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Recipe Notes

*Alternatively, follow package instructions to cook tapioca pearls.

*For a chilled version, store steamed tofu and arnibal in the fridge until cold. Assemble as directed with warm tapioca.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Use silken tofu or soft tofu that is found at the refrigerated section of the supermarket. DO NOT use the ones in cartons sold at room temperature.
  • For the real deal, traditional taho, use sago pearls. These can be purchased at Filipino supermarkets or through Amazon. 
  • I usually purchase my dried tapioca black pearls from Ten Ren. I go to the location on Broadway (LA Chinatown). They sell large 6.5 pound bags, which roughly makes 100 servings of boba. 
  • The boba package photographed here is from Lollicup. It can be purchased at their headquarters in Chino or at variousRestaurant Depot locations.
  • The dried tapioca pearls used in this recipe are already sweetened with caramel and maple syrup flavoring.
  • There are two types of tapioca pearls:one has a long cooking time, while the other is par-cooked allowing for a much shorter cooking time. In my opinion, the longer cooking one tastes MUCH better.
  • Tapioca pearls are best eaten within hours of cooking. DO NOT refrigerate. The pearls will harden to a rubbery consistency.