Friday 27 November 2015

Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐

I didn't know making Yong Tau Foo nowadays is so convenient. I am not talking about instant fish pastes. Those are just too generic, not fresh and not flavourful enough. My mom went to the wet market this morning and she brought a little plastic of Spanish mackerel (tenggiri) back. Apparently the seller has fillet and deboned it for her already! All that was needed was to chop it up, add flavours and give those lovely mackerel a good slap (literally speaking la). The process was made even easier with a ready food processor. Just add everything into the machine and let the machine do all the labourous work. Within minutes, what used to be fish chunks turned into into fine flavourful sticky paste.

A good fish paste has to be springy and bouncy when cooked. And this could only be achieved with the use of certain fish and the act of slapping or throwing the paste. The Spanish mackerel or tenggiri is the preferred fish as it produces a gluey texture when processed. This in turn would create that lovely springy QQ texture that is so highly regarded in Chinese cooking.

Yong Tau Foo basically means stuffing a tofu. Therefore, there is no surprise this dish have tofu in it, be it soft white tofu, puffed taufu, or beancurd skin. It is just that when Yong Tau Foo came to Southeast Asia, it evolved to included vegetables and chillies...lots of it. Nowadays, you can stuff almost any vegetables you fancy. Today, I used long beans, bittergourd, green chillies, lady fingers and brinjal. If you like some lovely crunch, go for beancurd skin or dumpling skin. It was a shame that I did not have these crunchies in hands!

There are many ways that you could serve your Yong Tau Foo. Steamy hot soup, crispy fried with tauchu and chilli sauce, or homecook style with oyster or tauchu sauce on top. I made oyster sauce to go with my Yong Tau Foo today. I do apologise for not being able to show the finished product as it was raining cats and dogs and the rookie photographer in me just could not take good photographs. So this would have to do.

Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐

Makes 60 pieces (depending on the quantity of paste you use per piece)


Fish Paste (makes 900 g)

500 g Spanish mackerel
300 g minced pork belly (or pork with 30% fat)
3 tbsp cornstarch


3/4 cup water
1 1/4 tbsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
pepper to taste

Your choice vegetables and tofu, I used the following (for half the fish paste):

3 soft tofu, cut into half
2 small brinjals, cut into 3 inches with an incision in the middle
5 long beans, rolled into a circle
5 green chillies, deseed
5 lady's finger, make an incision along the vege

Cooking Instruction

1. Dissolve salt in water. Put fish and pork into a food processor. Blend together salt water and meat.

2. Add the rest of the seasoning and continue to blend until paste is fine and springy. If you do not have a food processor, chop meat finely and then use a spoon to stir vigorously until pasty. Then use hand to slap the meat on the bowl several times until it turns springy.

3. Remove and stuff the vegetables and tofu. I only used half of the paste and froze the other half for next round.

4. Deep-fry the vegetables until cooked. For tofu, steam for 8 minutes. If you do not want to deep-fry, steam the vegetables together with tofu. Remove from fire and drain.

5. Serve Yong Tau Foo with your choice of soup or sauce.

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