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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.

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Stuffed Minced Pork with Bitter Melon (蒸苦瓜釀肉)

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Eric forwarded me an email with even more bitter gourd or bitter melon recipes. We are really not big fans, however it’s summer time, the weather is getting really hot. We know bitter melon is definitely one of the vegetables that could help to cool down your internal body heat. In fact it is very beneficial to your liver and stomach digestion, as well as high level of vitamin C. My coworker even taught me to blend bitter melon juice with honey for a nice cooling drink which is pretty good. I was thinking to make the drink but Eric doesn’t like it, so instead I tried one of the recipe he requested, which is the Steamed Stuffed Minced Pork with Bitter Melon (蒸苦瓜釀肉).

This recipe is similar to one of the Chinese Hakka recipe of Stuffed Tofu and other vegetables (釀豆腐), except this recipe uses only minced pork and it is steamed to cook. Basically this is an easy recipe, just mix and marinate the minced pork, then stuff it into the melon pieces and steam. The bitter melon are crisp, bitter yet so refreshing with just the natural sweet broth from the minced pork itself, no other seasoning is added.  If you like, you can always make a dipping sauce with soy sauce or soy sauce paste, sugar and few drips of sesame oil, add some chili and minced garlic if desired.

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Bitter Melon and Pork Stew (苦瓜燜豬肉)

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Not everyone likes the bitter melon (苦瓜). It is a bitter fruit that I used to loathe in childhood. Seriously, I would skip having it every time when it was served in any dishes. My taste buds changed when I grew up. The pork and bitter melon stew is now one of my favorite family dishes, which I missed dearly.

Chinese loves to use the bitter melon in cooking for its bitter flavor such as stir-fries and sours. As for this time, I’ve used it to prepare the “pork and bitter melon stew” to gratify my craving. Nothing fancy is needed else than the ground bean sauce which you are able to get it easily in most Asian food markets. Good thing about this dish is the bitter melon doesn’t taste so bitter after it has been cooked.

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Stir Fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg (苦瓜炒咸蛋)

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I am not a fan of bitter melon or bitter gourd (苦瓜) as they are really bitter. In Chinese belief, any bitter vegetables or herbs are good for your health just like medicines are bitter but they heal your sickness (苦口良葯). The bitter melon is a healthy and beneficial vegetable, it is considered cool temperature in nature that will help to stimulate digestion and cool your internal body heat. Sometimes I like to stir fry it with chicken or pork meat as one of the “cooling” dishes.

I once tried this Stir Fried Bitter Gourd with Salted Egg in a small local Chinese restaurant and I was amazed how it turned out really delicious. The bitter gourd is not bitter after it is coated well with salted egg that made it so fragrant and tasty. If you don’t like bitter gourd you can try to soak the slices in salted water or even blanch them quickly before cooking, but not too long as it will get old.

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