Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hakka Yong Tau Foo

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Hakka stuffed white tofu.

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Cantonese stuffed fried tofu balls.

This Hakka dish is something I don't bother to cook, simply because I never make it as good as the Hakkas. Another reason is because yong tiew foo (stuffed tofu in Hakka) is so everyday and everywhere, I don't even bother to eat it when it is served. That's how common it is. In fact, if you ask what the most famous Hakka dish is, it'd be either kiew nyuk or yong tiew foo.

I know an aunty who makes the yummiest yong tiew foo, just like any authentic Hakka aunty. She recently gave me a pot of her yong tiew foo, and I ate 5 pieces (with plenty of thick sour chili sauce) before I realized it. Suddenly, I wanted to learn how to make good yong tiew foo. Home-made stuffed tofu is satisfying because the meat filling goes deep into the tofu, unlike restaurant stuffed tofu which have a thin layer of filling only. This recipe is from the aunty but like anything, practice makes perfect and you need to cook it a couple of times to adjust the seasoning to your liking. I find it hard to to keep the filling from falling out of the tofu, especially when frying them.

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Hakka Yong Tau Foo
6 pieces white tofu
200 g lean pork
200 g ready-minced pork*
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
5 shallots, minced
salt and pepper

Sauce:
1 heaped t cornflour
4 cups water
2 T light soy sauce
1/2 T dark soy sauce
1/2 t sugar (optional)
2 shakes of msg or 1/2 t chicken granules
--mix together

*Aunty said it's best to use a half-half combination of home-ground and ready-ground pork from the market because the ready ground pork has some fat and gives a smooth taste and good bite. If you are health conscious, use home ground pork only but the filling will be coarser.

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1. Cut the tofu into half each. Using a paring knife, cut a small piece of tofu out from the center to make a well. Not too deep or tofu will break up. Also, if the filling is too deep, it will take longer to cook, and that would result in tofu that's coarse with bubbles of air.

2. Chop the lean pork, adding half the garlic and shallots to the pork while chopping. Add some salt and pepper but not too much if you are going to add ready-bought ground pork because that is already seasoned. When pork is minced finely, mix it well with the ready ground pork.

3. Take a small pat of the mixed ground pork and stuff it into the 'well' of the tofu. Repeat with all the tofu pieces. There may be some leftover meat.

4. Put 2 T oil into a wok or pan and fry the remaining shallots and garlic. Aunty puts in the tofu pieces meat-side down and turns them over after a minute. But I find that tricky to do because the meat filling sometimes fall out or the tofu will break. So what I do is just put the tofu meat-side up.

5. Pour the sauce over the tofu, cover and let tofu simmer under medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Cook the tofu too long and you'll get bubbles in the tofu, not a good thing because you want a smooth soft tofu. Undercooking results in the filling not being thoroughly cooked. The sauce will thicken with cooking so do add a little bit of water to prevent the sauce from getting too thick. However, because cornflour will burn, make sure the fire is low.

Note: my mom's way of cooking Cantonese stuffed tofu balls is to place a ceramic plate over the bottom of a pot, then arrange the stuffed tofu balls (we use half fish paste and half lean pork and chopped chives) over the plate and add a few bowls of water and boil under low-medium fire. Tofu balls take longer to cook, 40-60 minutes depending on how high you pile the balls, so you'll have to add water now and then. The plate will prevent the tofu balls from burning, and you can cook dozens of stuffed tofu balls in one go this way.

When the tofu balls are cooked (test one), arrange a dozen or two on a serving plate. Then put the above sauce ingredients (but reduce the water to 1 cup only) and 1 T oyster sauce in a small pot and heat until the sauce becomes clear and thickened. Pour sauce over the tofu balls.

15 comments:

ekeng said...

Terri...i love Hakka Yong Tau Foo..It's my all time favorite..I will go back to KK on 1st Nov. I will try to meet you and Denise if can. see ya.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

hmmm looks like a healthy dinner option..

Big Boys Oven said...

this is lovely, so fresh and so yummy, feel like taking some away from you . . . but can't!

a feast, everyday said...

Oh, my favorite dish but i too never bother to do as my SIL can do it so well...the trickiest part is the tofu has to remain silky smooth when cooked. Droolz...

NEE said...

haha great minds think alike. i am preparing some posts on hakka yong tou fu too.

your looks gorgeous.

Johnathan said...

Hmmmm.... your recent posts gave me the urge to go KK. Probably you can charge me a certain amount so that I can eat over at your place daily for one month or until your recipes are exhausted... whichever is longer hahahah!

jC said...

Hakka everything is delicious! A little bit bias i know.. haha. Aunty Terri!! One day you got to put up your Ox tail soup! That was a killer.

Hazza said...

I have never ever considered making this but your blog will inspire me to try it when I get back to UK. It looked so deliciously simple!

Anonymous said...

Adopt me! Adopt me!

TeaLady said...

Hey, Terri. Tell your girl thanks for the comment. I appreciate it much.

Anonymous said...

Rub some cornstarch on the surface of the tofu before putting the minced meat on it. The cornstarch will serve as glue to make sure the meat stay still. It always work.

TeaLady said...

Terri - another note for your daughter. She is very talented. Her sketches and drawings are great.

Precious Pea said...

Yummy!!! Some people put salted fish too right?

b said...

Hey Terri... you're such a trend-setter. Your delicious looking Yong Tau Foo got me wondering around the market today to buy the ingrediants for it. Will be making it soon.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ekeng: oh my, how was the moon?! ok, call us.

joe: not really, there's pork fat.

bbo: tt's how i feel with ur cakes :0

a feast: yes, like i said, i seldom ever cook this. but it's good to overcome cooking phobias.

johnathan: don't give me pressure...u may run away b4 1 month!

nee: oh oh, i stand to be corrected !:::)))

jc: tt wasn't soup, it was a stew n yes, it's so good i'm reluctant to reveal the recipe...

hazza: waiting to see it on ur blog

anon 1: depends if u r boy or girl

anon 2: somebody told me tt but i didn't believe her, but since u tell me too, i will try it next time;thanx:)

pp: really? haven't tried tt, it must be crazy delicious!

tealady: oh, she's bashful about ur compliment but says "thanx"!

b: so how did it turn out??

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