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Easy Yong Tofu / Stuffed Tofu (釀豆腐)



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Yong Tofu or Yong Tau Fu (釀豆腐) is a Chinese dish originated from Hakka cuisine. It is a soup dish uses tofu and a variety of vegetables to stuff with meat paste mixture of fish and pork. The dish originally uses tofu for stuffing, therefore it is called Yong Tofu,  which literally means “stuffed bean curd”. Ever since Yong Tofu gained its popularity, a variety of vegetables are used for stuffing such as the bitter gourd, green or red chilies, eggplant, okra and etc. Thus the name of Yong Tofu has been used to all foods prepared in such method.

The last time we prepared the dish was last year, when Sam made a big whole pot of Yong Tofu for New Year celebration, we ate that for lunch and dinner for a couple of days. This time we were so lucky as my good Hakka friend Heidi decided to make Yong Tofu for our small gathering a few weeks ago.  She mentioned that her mum makes traditional style Hakka Yong Tofu, she will buy fresh fish from the market and hand chop the fish into fresh and smoother texture. Also she will have to chop and beat the ground pork so they are smooth and juicy to combine well.

This time, we skipped a couple of traditional steps and we made a very easy version of Yong Tofu (Next time I’ll try to make the authentic Hakka version). We only used the pre-made fish paste (no ground pork involved), you can get it in the frozen section of the Asian market; or get the fresh fish paste from the seafood section. Try to season the fish paste with pepper and sesame oil or chopped scallions. This will help to get rid of the fishy smell slightly. We picked up a couple of each vegetables such as bitter gourd,  eggplant, okra and tofu. You can also try red chili, tofu puff, tofu skin. This depends on your preference and also the number of people consuming.

Once we cut up the vegetables, all of us were helping out in the kitchen starting to create the piece of art – stuffing the mixture into the vegetables… fun and busy. When stuffed vegetables were almost ready, Heidi first pan fried them separately and followed by boiling. For this recipe, we only used plain water boiling, if you want a soup broth to go with the Yong Tofu, you can always make a pot of chicken stock, add in some crushed garlic, salt and scallions.

Serve the Yong Tofu with chili dipping sauce, we were totally satisfied! Thanks Heidi and the girls for making this delightful “Yong Tofu” gathering session came true.

Ingredients:

1-2 container Fish Paste
1 bittergourd (cut into round pieces, remove seeds)
1 eggplant (cut into diagonal pieces with 1″ thickness)
1 package okra / lady fingers about 12-15 pieces (cut a slit in the center)
1-2 packs of firm tofu blocks (cut into triangular pieces with 1″ thickness)

For fish paste seasoning:
3-5 dashes white pepper powder
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 stalks scalliions (finely chopped)

For dipping sauce:
Soy sauce or Hoisin sauce
Grounded garlic/red chili sauce (sambal) or Siriracha chili paste

Serve 4-6 people

Cooking Methods:

  1. Season the fish paste with seasonings of white pepper powder and sesame oil.
  2. Cut the vegetables into smaller pieces. For eggplant, cut diagonally about 1″ thick pieces, cut a slit in the center. For okra, make a slit in the middle. For bitter gourd, cut into round pieces with 0.5″ thick pieces. For tofu blocks, cut into triangle pieces, each around 1″ thickness.
  3. Using a bread knife, stuff the okra, eggplant, bitter gourd and tofu with the seasoned fish paste, dip in some water to smooth and curve the surface of the fish paste.
  4. Heat up cooking oil on a pan, pan fried the bitter gourd, tofu, eggplant separately until golden brown.
  5. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the okras and blanch about 2 minutes until they are cooked, set aside.  For others repeat the step, cook the stuffed vegetables in boiling water for about 2 minutes.
  6. Note: If you want to serve with broth, add chicken stock, couple of crushed garlic, chopped scallions, salt and pepper. Add in the stuffed vegetables and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Serve with chili dipping sauce.
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Category: Entrée (Seafood), Entrée (Veggie)

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