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Stuffed!

  • Feb 27, 2010
Rating:
+4
A dish of Hakka origin from China (as with Hainanese Chicken Rice) has been popularized in the little island of Singapore. Named Niangdoufu (酿豆腐) in Chinese, Yong tao foo is Cantonese accent of the same term. Niang (酿) in Hakka means stuffed although in Mandarin it means fermented.

There is a little difference between those in China & Singapore in that the filling within the Tofu in China is mostly minced pork (with some shrimps) while those in Singapore is fish paste. Yong Tau Foo translates to mean stuffed bean curd or tofu. Generally, in China, other than tofu, bitter gourd and eggplant are commonly stuffed with the minced pork. Tofu are of 2 kinds, the white tofu and the fried tofu. These are the bean curd type rather than the soft Japanese tofu.

Traditional Yong Tau Foo                                               Singapore version of Yong Tau Foo


Yong Tau Foo in Singapore & Malaysia
I've tried both kinds of YTF. I had the traditional ones made for me by my maternal grandma whose dialect is originally Hakka. I remembered eating them as a child and enjoyed them very much, other than the bitter gourd ones. As I left for Singapore for education as a teen, I was introduced to the YTF in Singapore. Generally, I prefer variety and in Singapore, I found that. Fish balls and fish paste are widely used. As I grew older, I began to enjoy veges like ladies fingers, egg plants and bitter gourds. 

In Singapore, due to the hot and warm weather, although commonly served in soup, I much prefer my YTF the dried version. Sweet sauce and chilli sauce may be added and thereby render it a highly tasty meal. Yes, it's a meal as one may add noodles or beehoon (vermicelli) to YTF.

Interestingly, YTF has also been localised and some prepare it with curry or laksa soup. It's truly taste and mixes well with both curry and laksa. I suspect it'll be great with tom yum soup too!



Yong Tau Foo in clear broth


Curry Yong Tau Foo


Recipe for Hakka Yong Tau Foo 
(from RedCook.net)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Slow cooking time: 20 minutes

Stuffing
  • 1 lb. firm tofu
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 lb. raw shrimp (finely minced)
  • 1/3 cup rehydrated and finely minced dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine (紹興料酒)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped red chili (optional)

Cooking Method
  • Cut up the tofu into about twelve equal pieces one half inch thick. Put the pieces on a paper towel to soak up excess moisture. Mix together all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and divide into twelve portions. Hold a piece of the tofu with the flat side in the palm of your hand. Use a paring knife and make a slit in the middle without slicing through to the bottom. Then insert a portion of the meat stuffing into the slit. Stuff as much of the meat as you can into the tofu and push the rest down flat on top of the tofu. Do this for each of the tofu pieces.
  • In a wok heat the vegetable oil until it begins to smoke. Fry the stuffed tofu with the meat side up on medium heat until it just begins to brown, about eight to ten minutes. Flip the tofu pieces over and continue to fry for another three to five minutes. Take the pieces out and put them on a dry paper towel to absorb the oil.
  • Drain all the vegetable oil but one tablespoonful into a heat resistant bowl. Return the wok to the stove on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir-fry for about one minute. Then add the fermented black beans, Shaoxing cooking wine, salt, chicken stock and chili if desired. Bring the liquid to boil and mix thoroughly. Then thicken the sauce with the cornstarch pre-mixed into slurry with about two tablespoons of water. Turn the heat down to low and put the tofu pieces back into the wok. Continue to cook the tofu pieces in the sauce for about two minutes. Plate the tofu pieces and pour the sauce over them. Garnish the dish with chopped scallion and cilantro.

If anyone of you decide to try this recipe, let me know how it goes. I'm too lazy to cook and it's much too convenient and easy for me to get this food where I'm living right now but I do know some of you love to cook over here at Lunch.com. So, there you have it, something new for you to experiment. This is a very healthy dish and for me, a good source of veges in the tastiest possible way! It's also a great way to get some healthy food into children with their colorful and delicious stuffing!

In Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, Yong Tau Foo is highly popular and it is often possible to buy ready made ones from the wet markets and supermarkets. All one has to do is simply to cook them with some broth or even plain water and add chicken essence to it. It can well be Asian version of fast food!
Stuffed! Stuffed!

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February 27, 2010
whoa. You are in a roll with these food reviews, Sharrie! and you said you couldn't cook. This is one of my faves and I appreciate the recipe. Love the pics!
February 27, 2010
Hehe... I couldn't cook but I sure know how to eat, LOL... Well, afterall, this is my territory (Asian Food), remember? ;-) Lots of stuff for you to try out this weekend! Last day of Chinese New Year feasting tomorrow :-)
 
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Quick Tip by . February 27, 2010
It looks fanciful to most but this may well be a fast food in countries like Singapore & Malaysia. Take your pick & readily served in 2 mins
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Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Wiki

Yong tau foo ( also spelled yong tao fooyong tau fu, or yong tau hu ) is a Chinese soup dish with Hakka origins commonly found inChinaSingapore and Malaysia. There are also Teochew and Hokkien variations.

In Malaysia, the Ampang region of Kuala Lumpur is particularly famous for this dish. It is ubiquitous in Singapore food courts, too. Essentially the dish originated in the early 1960s in a restaurant called "Chew Kuan" as tofu stuffed with a meat paste of fish and pork, thereby earning the dish its name "Yong Tau Foo," which means "stuffed bean curd." Since then all variety of vegetables and even fried fritters have been similarly stuffed, and the name Yong Tau Foo has thus been used liberally to apply to foods prepared in this manner.

Yong tau foo is essentially a clear consomme soup containing a varied selection of food items including fish ballscrab sticks,bittergourdscuttlefishlettuceladies fingers, as well as chilis, and various forms of fresh produce, seafood and meats common inChinese cuisine. Some of these items, such as bittergourd and chili, are usually filled with fish paste (surimi). The foods are then sliced into bite-size pieces, cooked briefly in boiling broth and then served either in the broth as soup or with the broth in a separate bowl. The ...

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