Millions of people across the world will be celebrating Chinese New Year on January 28th and it’s the Year of the Rooster. And in honour of Chinese New Year, I’m showing you how to make one of my most favourite Chinese desserts, Sweet Dried Beancurd Soup, 腐竹糖水 (fu juk tong sui).
Fu pei is the Chinese for dried beancurd. It comes in sheets which, when rehydrated in warm water, can be rolled around a meat or vegetable filling (this is called fu pei guen, 腐皮卷, literally dried beancurd roll) or in sticks which can be fried with meat and vegetables or added to stews or soups, the latter of which I’m doing. This recipe is courtesy of my nan and she told me it was very easy and having now made it myself, I concur, it’s ridiculously easy.
You might be quite unfamiliar with dried beancurd. When soy milk boils, a film/skin forms on the surface, which is the beancurd. It’s then collected and dried to form ‘fu pei’. But fu pei itself is quite a common ingredient in the Chinese cuisine, often found stir-fried with vegetables. One of my favourite ways to eat it is in a braised lamb belly stew which I have absolutely no idea how to make but I will definitely get my nan to teach me one day!
But it also goes fantastically in this soup. The Chinese aren’t big dessert and cake people and desserts at the end of a family get together usually consists of fresh fruit and then tong sui, literally sugar water. There are many different types with lots of ingredients in them, including red bean, taro, sweet potato, tapioca pearls and beancurd. My favourite is sai mai lo, 西米露, which contains the sago or tapioca pearls and sweet potato but again, I’m yet to learn that recipe.
You might be surprised at how little sugar there is compared to the volume of water but as the water boils and evaporates, the sugar concentration increases and it becomes sweeter however going slightly under on the sugar means that we can easily adjust it at the end to taste. I actually found that 4 tablespoons was the right amount for me personally and it tasted exactly as how my nan makes it, but it all depends on how sweet you like it.
1.2L recently boiled water
3 – 5 tbsp granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
2 sticks of dried beancurd, you can find these in the world food section of supermarkets
1 egg, beaten
In a large saucepan, bring the water up to a rolling boil. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of sugar and then crush in the 2 sticks of dried beancurd.
Place a lid on the pan and leave for 4 – 5 minutes until the beancurd has softened completely and is a pale creamy colour.
Remove the pan from the heat and whilst stirring constantly, pour in the beaten egg. The egg should cook immediately but put the pan back on a low heat with the lid on for a couple of minutes just for thoroughness. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
Serve the soup hot, warm or even cold on its own in a bowl as a great light dessert to end any meal. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold but it has to be eaten within a day of making.