Taho consists of layers of warm, custard-like tofu, sago pearls, and simple syrup. It is one of the best, if not the best, street foods in the Philippines.
Like Turon (Banana Spring Rolls), taho is loved by many Filipinos. It's delicious and easy to make with just 4 ingredients!
What makes a good taho
To make a good taho, you'll need a thick brown sugar syrup with a deep caramel flavor.
The tofu must have a custardy texture. Sago pearls should be chewy and not clumped together.
Ingredients you'll need
Notes and substitutions
- Silken tofu: It is coagulated soy milk made from soybeans. Its texture is delicate, smooth, and custardy. Choose the soft silken tofu variety or one with just "silken tofu" on the label.
- Sago: You can also use tapioca pearls which are cooked the same way and also used in Halo-Halo. Sago is from tropical palm trees while tapioca is from cassava plants. Choose the small, white variety. After cooking, it roughly triples in volume.
- Dark brown sugar: Because it contains more molasses, the caramel flavor is more pronounced. Light brown sugar can be used as a substitute.
How to make this recipe
Make the brown sugar syrup or arnibal
(1)In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
(2)Over medium-high heat, boil the mixture for 12 to 15 minutes to develop the caramel flavor and slightly thicken the syrup. Turn off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
PRO TIP: You can also use pandan leaves in place of vanilla for a wonderful aroma.
(3)Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Cook the sago pearls
(4)Heat 6 cups of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When it boils, add the sago pearls.
If you add them too soon, they will disintegrate. (5)Stir right away to prevent them from sticking together.
(6)Cover and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes until translucent.
(7)Drain and rinse under cold water to remove residual starch.
(8)Add in about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar syrup to prevent them from clumping together.
(9)Drain any excess water from the tofu. Warm in a steamer or in a microwave for about a minute, if desired.
(10)Scoop out thin slices and portion into cups or bowls.
(11)Add the sago or tapioca pearls. (12)Pour the brown sugar syrup over it.
How to serve
Taho can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. Drink it straight from the cup, stir it with a spoon, or use a straw to sip it.
How to store and reheat
Taho is best eaten right away for the best flavor and texture. If you must save it for later, refrigerate and consume within a day or two.
Refrigerate the ingredients separately and assemble them right before serving. You can serve it cold or quickly reheat it in the microwave.
Frequently asked questions
In the Philippines, taho is sold for breakfast or merienda (snack) by vendors peddling around town. With bamboo shafts over their shoulders, they carry the ingredients in large aluminum buckets.
It is best to eat taho right away. Freezing will change the texture of the silken tofu and sago pearls.
Tofu is a good source of calcium, protein, and lowers cholesterol. Tapioca pearls are good for you because they are fiber-rich. However, taho is loaded with sugar. As with anything, moderation is key.
More about taho
Here are more frequently asked questions about taho (silken tofu with sago and brown sugar syrup) including extra tips, troubleshooting, and other information.
Watch how I make it here
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Taho (Tofu with Sago and Syrup)
- Saucepan or pot
- 1 (14-ounce) package silken tofu or soft silken tofu
- 1½ cups dark brown sugar sub: light brown sugar
- ½ cup white sago or tapioca pearls
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, boil the brown sugar and 1 cup of water for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- Turn off the heat and add in the vanilla extract. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Heat 6 cups of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- When it boils, add the sago and stir right away to prevent them from sticking together.
- Cover and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes until translucent.
- Drain and rinse under cold water to remove residual starch.
- Add in about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar syrup to prevent them from clumping together.
- Drain any excess water from the tofu. Warm in a steamer or in a microwave for about a minute, if desired.
- Scoop out thin slices and portion into cups or bowls.
- Add the sago and pour the brown sugar syrup over it.