Silken Tofu, Tapioca and Caramel Parfait (Taho)

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Silken Tofu, Tapioca and Caramel Parfait (Source: The Adobo Road Cookbook)

Silken Tofu, Tapioca and Caramel Parfait (Source: The Adobo Road Cookbook)

On my last trip to the Philippines, I encountered a street vendor carrying a long wooden pole across his shoulders. At either end of the pole was a metal bucket -- one bucket held tapioca pearls and a caramel sauce in separate compartments, and the other bucket contained warm and soft silken tofu. The vendor then scooped some tofu into a plastic cup, layered in some tapioca, and then topped it all off with a drizzle of caramel sauce. While cold tofu may seem out of place in a warm dessert, it is the perfect blank canvas for a sweet caramel sauce -- especially my Rum and Coconut Caramel Sauce. And with chewy tapioca pearls to contrast the smooth and creamy tofu, this is a sweet dessert layered with incredible flavors and textures.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


1 cup (170 g) large dried tapioca pearls
12 oz (350 g) silken tofu
1 recipe Rum and Coconut Caramel Sauce (see below)


Cook the tapioca pearls according to package instructions. Drain and set the cooked tapioca aside.

Layer spoonfuls of the tofu in the bottom of small bowls or dessert cups, and then add a few spoonfuls of the cooked tapioca followed by a drizzle of the caramel sauce. Continue layering the ingredients to fill the bowls or cups, and serve immediately.

Rum and Coconut Caramel Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup (185 ml)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes


1/2 cup (90 g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon dark rum
Pinch of sea salt

Place the sugar and water in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar completely melts and begins to darken, stir constantly until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, 2-3 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the coconut milk -- the mixture will bubble furiously, so take care not to burn yourself. Continue stirring the mixture over medium heat until it is thoroughly combined and begins to thicken into a caramel, 3-5 minutes more.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in the rum and salt. whisk to combine.

Cook's Notes: Store the caramel in a plastic squeeze bottle for up to a month in the refrigerator for easy drizzling and dispensing.

Reheat cold caramel with 10-second intervals in the microwave, as needed.

Posted with permission from Marvin Gapultos' The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey - From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond (Tuttle Publishing

Marvin Gapultos is the author of the celebrated food blog, Burnt Lumpia (, and was the founder of Los Angeles’ first gourmet Filipino food truck, The Manila Machine. His first cookbook entitled, "The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey--From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond" is available for sale at Barnes and Noble bookstores, as well as from Amazon. Check out his Amazon site:

More recipes from Marvin Gapultos