• Taho-Filipino Silken Tofu with Sago

    By Jeri Mobley-Arias

    “Taho! TAHOOO!” Memories of Taho venders walking along the streets vending this delicious breakfast or merienda (snack) in the streets of a small province in the Philippines come to mind anytime I indulge in this delicious sweet treat.

    • Taho is comprised of silken tofu, arnibal (sweetener) and sago (tapioca pearls) beautifully layered in a cup and served typically warm, but can also be served chilled.

      I tried taho for the first time as a child, while vacationing in the Philippines with my mom and sister. My younger cousins would wake up, gather their pesos (monetary unit served in the Philippines) and wait for the Taho vendor to make his way to our street. Sometimes known as local breakfast heroes, these vendors stand out; balancing two buckets on their shoulders–one filled with warm silken tofu, the other housing arnibal and sago pearls. Upon telling him how how many cups of taho you want, he swiftly ladles the tofu into an 8 ounce or smaller cup, tops it with arnibal and sago pearls and finishes it off with a quick swirl of his spoon.

      Taho is love at first bite–with each is a perfect balance of sweet, chewy sago balls and custardy silken tofu. The flavors and textures marry so well together and a is such a comforting treat. After first trying it in the Philippines, I enjoyed it so much that would beg my mom to make her own rendition, and sometimes, she’d obliged me.

      Breakdown of the Ingredients Silken Tofu can be found in four options of firmness: extra firm, firm, soft, and silken. When making taho, keep a lookout for silken tofu. The texture is custard-like and delicate, which is ideal for this sweet-treat. Arnibal is the Tagalog word for simple syrup. Its texture is that of syrup, has a unique slightly burnt + caramelized flavor and is dark in color. It’s simple to make, requiring water, brown sugar and for those who prefer, vanilla flavoring. If you prefer your arnibal on the sweeter side, the color will appear darker, richer, and have a richer mouthfeel. I prefer less sweeter arnibal, so mine tends to be lighter in color and thinner in texture. Sago are similar to tapioca and boba pearls, the difference is in the ingredients. Sago is made from an edible pith found in palm trees, whereas tapioca and boba pearls are made from cassava root. You can use either for this recipe. Bear in mind that the larger the pearl, the longer the cooking time. Pictured for this recipe are large pearls, but oftentimes I opt for small tapioca pearls, as the cooking time is significantly less. You can find sago or tapioca pearls at most Asian markets.

      My Take on Taho What I’m sharing with you is how my momma would make taho for me. We prefer it less sweet, but if you’d like the arnibal on the sweeter side, (the traditional way) add an additional ¼ cup of brown sugar to what I suggest for this recipe.

      In the mood for Filipino Eats? Then check out my chicken adobo, pork adobo, sinangag, and chicken and shrimp lumpia. Not only are these my childhood favorites, but also beloved by many–take a peek!

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  • Taho-Filipino Silken Tofu with Sago

    By Jeri Mobley-Arias

    “Taho! TAHOOO!” Memories of Taho venders walking along the streets vending this delicious breakfast or merienda (snack) in the streets of a small province in the Philippines come to mind anytime I indulge in this delicious sweet treat.

    • Total Time:
      1hr
    • Servings:
      4

    Ingredients

    Sago

    • sago (or tapioca pearls)
    • ½ cup of sago or tapioca pearls
    • water for cooking

    Arnibal (sweetener)

    • 1½ cup water
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

    Silken Tofu

    • 16 ounces silken tofu
    • steamer basket for warming

    Instructions

    1. Start with cooking the sago or tapioca pearls. Cook as directed on package. Once cooked, drain and return to pot used to cook pearls. Add 1½ tablespoons of arnibal to lightly flavor pearls. Set aside.
    2. Let’s make the arnibal. In a saucepan, add water, brown sugar, and vanilla extract and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes or until you begin to smell caramelized notes from from the mixture and the texture is syrup-like. Turn off heat cover and set aside.
    3. In a steamer lined with parchment paper, carefully add silken tofu and cook for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
    4. To serve, scoop thin layers of tofu into a small cup. Top with warm arnibal and sago (or tapioca pearls). Serve warm.
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