KitchenTigress: Ginger Milk Pudding

Ginger Milk Pudding

Ginger milk pudding (薑汁撞奶) is a Cantonese dessert made with ginger juice and milk. Without steaming, baking, gelatine or agar-agar, the milk solidifies into a custard after it's mixed with ginger juice.

Sounds really easy, right? Hey, the devil is in the details!

Recipes for ginger milk pudding usually specify the use of old ginger but I've succeeded and failed before with both old and young ginger. It's not the age that matters, but the white stuff you see in the photo below. That's starch, which can make milk proteins solidify. I've come across old ginger which doesn't have much of it, and also young ginger which has lots.

How do you tell which piece of ginger has lots of starch or not? I don't know. But I do know that if you don't see a thick layer of starch after letting ginger juice rest a few minutes, you should forget about 薑汁撞奶 and make teh halia instead.

How much ginger juice should there be? The ratio of juice to milk should be 8-10. If there's too little ginger juice, there'd be naturally too little starch and the milk wouldn't set. Too much is bad too unless some of the liquid part of the ginger juice is removed.

In China, ginger milk pudding is made with buffalo milk. Fortunately, cow milk may be used too although it gives a softer set.

The way milk is added to ginger juice is critical to the success of the pudding. First, stir the starch sitting in the bottom of the bowl. Stop stirring, then pour the right amount of milk into the bowl in one go. It has to "crash" into the ginger juice, as the Cantonese name for the dessert says.

Because milk proteins start solidifying once the milk hits the ginger starch, the turbulence in the bowl should be just sufficient to mix the starch and milk, then stop asap or the curds being formed would be broken up.

The temperature of the milk has a huge impact on how firm the pudding is. If the temperature is too high or too low, the milk doesn't set properly. The good news is, ginger flavoured milk is quite nice!

If you want your pudding as firm as possible, don't add any sugar to the milk. Instead, make some sugar solution and drizzle it on the pudding like how you'd eat tau huay (豆花).

How to make ginger milk pudding

Step-by-step guide

Ginger milk pudding is made by mixing ginger juice and milk. The success depends on the amount of starch in the ginger juice, the temperature of the milk, the amount of protein in the milk, and how turbulent the mixing is.

ginger milk pudding
(For 2 bowls)
  • 360 ml full-fat fresh milk
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 40 ml freshly squeezed ginger juice, divided equally between 2 serving bowls – let ginger juice rest 5 minutes, check amount of starch in bottom of bowls, do not proceed if there isn't much
  1. Heat milk and sugar till very hot, 75-80ºC.

  2. Stir ginger juice. Stop stirring, then pour 180 ml milk in one go, quickly, into each bowl.

  3. Leave for 10 minutes without moving bowls.

  4. Serve.