Monday 12 October 2009

Stuffed Tofu

Often people will tell me they don't like tofu. I find this hard to believe, mainly because there are so many different types and different ways in cooking it. Sure, if you've been subjected to tofu burgers, or that hideous Cauldron marinated stuff, then I can understand.

But tofu, especially bought fresh, is wonderous; from Ma Po Tofu to Agedashi Tofu, it shows that tofu isn't just reserved just for the vegetarian or vegan. Fresh silken tofu is, as the name suggests silky in the mouth with a clean and refreshing flavour. A particular favourite of mine is the tofu you can buy already deep-fried at the Chinese supermarket. When stuffed and then braised in sauce it takes on a lovely, spongy, juicy quality that's full of flavour.

This is quite a common Cantonese recipe. Traditionally white fish is pounded until it is a paste, and then when cooked it takes on a bouncy texture. It's a dish my grandmother used to make, either with a combination of pork and prawn or fish and it a very comforting dish to me, redolent of family meals in Hong Kong. The table would heave with several dishes, such as this tofu dish, some vegetables, and a meat dish all to be added to your bowl of rice.

Fish-Stuffed Fried Tofu in Black Bean Sauce

Serves 4 as part of a multi-dish meal or 2 as a main

For the tofu:

10 or 15 cubes of tofu
200gr white fish (I used pollack)
1 spring onion, minced finely
1" cube of ginger, chopped finely
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
A few dashes of sesame oil
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cornflour
1 egg white

For the sauce:

2 tbsp black beans, chopped
1 tbsp dark soy
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp light soy
1/5 tsp sugar
1 tsp black vinegar
100ml chicken stock or water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 spring onion, sliced on the diagonal
1 tsp of cornflour slackened with 2 tsp water

Slice the tofu cubes in half and remove the inner white bits. In a food processor, add the stuffing mixture and process into a paste. Chop the black beans finely and add to a separate bowl with the dark soy, rice wine, light soy, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well to make a thick, viscous sauce. Add the water or chicken stock.

Stuff the fish paste into the tofu, over stuffing it a touch, as it will shrink. This is best done with a teaspoon and fingers. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the tofu gently, fish side down, for 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and stir gently until fragrant. Add the sauce mixture and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring carefully, occasionally. Then add the cornflour mixture and simmer until thickened, finally garnishing with the spring onion. Serve with rice.


Su-Lin said...

You might be interested to know that this dish is very popular in Malaysia and Singapore and goes by the name of yong tau fu ( The fish paste can also be stuffed into vegetables too. Delicious!

The Ample Cook said...

I have to admit that I've never liked the idea of tofu, but this looks gorgeous.

Mr Noodles said...

I'm a 'bad Chinese' and don't like tofu. But I do love fishballs and the paste in your recipe would make great fishballs.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Interesting recipe...

Stuart Ovenden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
An American in London said...

I, too, love tofu, especially stuffed with prawn paste. I'll expand my horizons by trying out this fish paste recipe, though.

Naimah said...

I really love how this sounds, I've always wanted to cook with tofu!


LexEat said...

Wow this looks great! I'm definitely going to try it.


Browners said...

Ever since you guided Cowie and me through the menu of tofu and century eggs at Leong's Legend I've been intrigued to try more tofu. And always think of you whenever I order it. I'm actually beginning to like it!

Krista said...

Love love love tofu. Ma Po in particular. Can never understand how when I utter the words, "How 'bout we add a tofu dish?" I am always in the minority. Lucky for me, I have a ton of Chinese co-workers who I can rely on for lots of tofu goodness.

Hollow Legs said...

Su-Lin - ah yes, my grandmother used to stuff vegetables too.

Ample Cook - Go on, give it a go...

Mr Noodles - I'm surprised! I love those fish balls too, especially bbq'd.

UR - perhaps you should do a Chinese night?

Stuart - thanks!

AAIL - I love prawn paste stuffed tofu too, with a Chinese mushroom sauce.

Naimah - now's your chance... I highly recommend it.

LexEats - Let me know how it goes!

Browners - Ah, I'm glad you think of it fondly. I was unsure of how you guys would take it...

Krista - Ma Po is so great, isn't it? I must make it again soon. I also keep trying to convince my mates, but it's hard.

Helen @ World Foodie Guide said...

I can understand it when some people say they don't like it, but I'm sure they haven't had the real thing (with the exception of Mr Noodles!). Tofu is so versatile and when it's fresh, it's incredible. I love it stuffed with prawn paste or cold with thousand year old egg!

Hengki B.P. said...

Eat rice with fried tofu like it is showed here? I like eat tofu, fried or steamed. I see, that the rice used this receipt is a qualified rice, so the rice makes it delicious to eat this cuisine.