Hello Everyone! So somewhere around November time last year, I shared a recipe for a classic breakfast (or merienda) staple here in the Philippines – none other than the famous tahhoooooo that you hear from yodelling street vendors. I shared a recipe for homemade taho back then, and tonight I’m going to share a recipe for using store-bought silken tofu. Upon doing research, this approach was adapted by our kababayans living or residing overseas, who truly miss having street taho readily available at their doorstep.
The very basic and classic version would be warm bland silken tofu that is sweetened with a caramelised brown sugar syrup known as arnibal, and is topped with tiny sago (tapioca) pearls. Nowadays you can find other variants such as Strawberry Taho or even Ube Taho, commonly found in the province of Benguet, more specifically in and around Baguio. Instead of a brown sugar syrup, a strawberry or ube syrup is made to sweeten the bland silken tofu.
Taking that into mind, I had this light bulb moment: what if I made a dragon fruit version of the arnibal? That had been my original for many months, and it was only lately that I decided to pair it with lychees since the two together had a great flavour profile for when I tackled a recipe for Dragon & Lychee Pork just last week.
PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINS | SERVES 2-4
- 1 pack (500g) soft silken tofu, roughly cut
For the dragon fruit and lychee arnibal
- 1 & 1/2 cups water
- 1 medium-sized dragon fruit (about 600g), peeled and roughly chopped*
- 1 can (255g) lychees in syrup, drained*
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lychee syrup
For the tapioca pearls
- 4-8 cups water
- 1/2 cup large tapioca pearls, uncooked
*Reserve some of the fruits to garnish before serving
- Tapioca Pearls: In a medium-sized pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls in. Leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pearls that you use.
- Strain the tapioca pearls and add another 2 cups of clean water back into the pot. Bring to a rapid boil before adding the tapioca pearls back to the pot. Cook for a further hour until they become completely translucent ensuring that there are no white spots at the core. Add more water when needed to keep the pearls submerged in water as it evaporates.
I know I have said this before in a previous post, but I’ll say it again for those just tuning in:
Tip: For better results, leave the pearls in the cooking pot until it reaches back to room temperature. One hour of boiling will completely cook the pearls, but the core will still be slightly opaque. Leaving the pearls in the cooking pot for several hours (with the heat turned off) gives them a chance to absorb more water. Which makes the core translucent overtime.
- Once the core is no longer opaque, strain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Dragon Fruit & Lychee Arnibal: Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients (except for the lychee syrup) for the arnibal in a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer until it thickens into a syrup and until the fruits are soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes.
- Once done, strain the syrup into a bowl to rid of any chunks of fruits. Stir in the lychee syrup and then set aside to cool down.
- Assemble: Layer each element into a tall glass; taho, syrup, dragon fruit, lychee, and repeat. Of course you can do it in any order you wish. Serve chilled and enjoy! Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller servings.
The result was absolutely amazing! The sweetness from the dragon fruit and lychee was subtle, but that’s only because I didn’t go overboard on sweetening the syrup, for health reasons. It was just enough to cater to my tolerance of sweet. Of course, feel free to add more sugar in the recipe to your level of liking. Just think, whenever I buy bubble milk tea, I always ask for 0% sugar, or if I’m feeling naughty, then slight sugar only!
– Ally xx