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Japanese Tofu Pudding And How to Make Your Own

Terrell Wallin

Terrell Wallin

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We’re sure you’re aware of the popular Japanese pudding, or ‘purin’, a crème caramel type set dessert, but have you heard of tofu pudding? Tofu pudding combines delicious flavor and healthy ingredients to create a unique dessert experience. 

Let’s learn all about tasty and sweet tofu pudding, including how to make it for yourself.

A bowl of tofu pudding covered in a sauce with a plastic spoon stuck into it on a dark table with food in the background
Tofu pudding may not look like much, but it’s flavor really shines with the right ingredients. Image via Shutterstock

Japan’s Love of Tofu

Japan has a long love of tofu. It has long been eaten by Buddhist monks as an essential healthy food for many years. In the Edo period (1603-1867), it became popular among the general public as a valuable source of protein and has stayed so up to this very day. One study found that older people in Japan eat 1-1.5 portions of either tofu, soy, or soy beans every single day.

In any Japanese grocery store, you will find a variety of tofu for every occasion, from atsu-age (deep-fried) tofu which can be eaten cold, to gan-mo (tofu balls) which are eaten in winter stews called oden. And it’s not all savory foods either. 

Today, we will introduce the humble tofu dessert, made in a certain way for many years. They are surprisingly easy to make, with no oven required. Simply cool in the freezer. 

Love Japanese pudding and other Japanese sweets? Sakuraco sends plenty of traditional Japanese sweets, snacks, and teas right to your door, perfect for any sweet tooth.

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Tasty and Healthy

Japanese purins are known for their creamy consistency and luxurious, rich flavor, thanks to the eggs and fresh whole milk. Tofu purins, however, are great if you prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor. In a basic recipe, the flavor of the tofu shines through– perfect if you are a diehard tofu fan! 

Like many wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), tofu puddings are gluten-free. They are also a lot lower in calories, so they’re recommended if you’re watching the calories. In fact, they have virtually no saturated fat and our basic recipe below has less than 200 kcals. 

So Many Varieties!

Doing a quick search for ‘tofu pudding’ on the popular Japanese site, Cookpad, will reveal a myriad of variations on the theme. As the base recipe is so simple to make, it’s incredibly easy to add your favorite flavor. You can choose whether to add the flavor to the pudding itself or to the sauce as a garnish. 

From matcha (Japanese green tea) pudding and brown sugar pudding to black sesame pudding and cherry blossom pudding… the possibilities are endless.

Tofu pudding with condensed milk, cocoa powder, and tapioca balls in a white and blue bowl on a tray next to a bowl of cocoa powder on a white background
This true dessert tofu pudding includes cocoa powder, tapioca balls, and condensed milk. Image via Shutterstock

Check out our quick step-by-step recipe below – it takes less than 20 mins!

Tofu Pudding Recipe

Ingredients 

Makes 2 servings

Soft Silken Tofu…………………150g

Soy Milk…………………………….200ml

Granulated Sugar……………..3tbsp

Agar-Agar…………………………1tsp

Vanilla Extract……………………2 drops

Method

  • Put the tofu, soy milk, and vanilla extract into a mixer or food processor and blend until it becomes smooth. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a pan, add the sugar, and heat gently over a medium low heat. 
  • When it starts to boil, turn off the heat, and slowly add the agar-agar powder, stirring until it dissolves. Tip: Put the bottom of the pan in iced water so the heat isn’t too harsh as you mix the agar-agar.
  • When everything is mixed, pour into individual ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer till hard. It should be chilled within 30 minutes. 
  • When ready, you can top with your favorite sauce, such as maple syrup or fruit. 

Cooking Tips

When you’ve got the hang of the base pudding, it can be very fun to experiment with ingredients. You can even vary it depending on the season! 

Try using cow’s milk or another milk substitute such as oat milk to vary the flavor. Just a simple change can create a whole new taste! We really enjoyed using oat milk as it was the perfect balance of creamy and a little sweet. 

You can even try using different types of sugar. Kokuto (Okinawa black sugar) adds a deep, malty flavor to the pudding, whereas white sugar keeps the flavor light and delicate.

You can also make a silken tofu pudding, which has a closer feeling to Western jello pudding, by pureeing silken tofu with other ingredients.

Three glasses of tofu pudding, one green, one orange, and one white one in the background on a towel on a table.
This silken tofu pudding can be served as is and is often called mousse tofu pudding. Image via Shutterstock

Pumpkin Tofu Pudding

For Thanksgiving, or even Halloween, this pumpkin version is a winner. Add some mashed pumpkin (around the same amount as the tofu) into the blender, blending with the tofu and milk. For this one, you can skip the extract if you like.

Chocolate Tofu Pudding

A great option for some added indulgence. Add 30g of cocoa at the soy milk mixture blending stage and some more sugar to the mix. This takes the flavor level up a notch!

Matcha Tofu Pudding

For a sophisticated version, try adding some matcha powder. This will go great with your very own tea ceremony!

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1 Responses

Asu says
September 25, 2021, 10:25 PM

As someone born and raised in Japan, I really appreciate your article on this delicate and healthy dessert! It brings warm memories of tasting silky morsels of home-made tofu pudding (tofu flan) with grapes or adzuki beans. I loved that you included simple recipe and variations. One thing that was deterring was that all the pictures except the top one are either Taiwanese or savory tofu dishes, which takes away from this article’s authenticity. Sakuraco is the most authentic Japanese subscription experience I’ve seen (from their snack choices to wrapped box delivery to beautiful brochures), so I look forward to see that level maintained in all aspects.

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