I think my Filipino peers would agree that Tahô, a staple snack in the Philippines brings out the childhood in all of us. I remember this street food dessert as early as 8 years of age. Street vendors would walk around the neighborhood holding two aluminum buckets (The larger bucket carries the tofu base; the smaller bucket holds the arnibal and sago pearls.) that hang on each end of a yoke and carried securely on their shoulder and yelling out “TAHOOOO”–much like the ice cream truck vendors driving around with a looping, cheerful melody that somehow screams out, “ICE CREAM” is coming your way! Come and get some…
Tahô originated from the Philippines. Vendors would prepare the separate ingredients at dawn. The main ingredient, tofu (soft/silken), is processed to a consistency like a custard. Followed by brown sugar that is heated, caramelized and mixed with water to create a syrup called arnibal. To enhance the flavor, vanilla extract is also added. Lastly, sago pearls, are boiled to a gummy, translucent consistency.
Today, however, my cravings needed to be satisfied in a hurry, and so a shortcut version was a must…thus I share with you my semi-homemade Tahô recipe. Kain na tayo! (Let’s eat!)–gcc
Makes for approximately 6-8 servings (a pitcher-size)
For arnibal (brown sugar syrup)
- 2 cups organic, light (or dark) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups water
- 1 one-pound package organic silken tofu
For the sago pearls
- 1 jar ready-made sago (Can be purchased at any Filipino market)
- For the arnibal: Put the sugar, vanilla, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir a minute or two, until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- When the arnibal has cooled down, place it in a pitcher. Add in the jar of sago and set aside.
- Steam silken tofu in a steamer until heated through, about 10 minutes. If you do not have a steamer, you can place the amount of tofu you want (per glass content) in a small dish and warm it up in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds.
For individual servings, place desired amount of tofu in a glass, along with the arnibal and sago pearls. Mix together and enjoy! This dessert is best served warm, but you can add crushed ice, if desired.