Do you like to eat street foods? If yes, you’ll enjoy this Chinese cuisine that has different ways to be cooked but is still healthy to eat.
There is no doubt that yong tau foo is a Chinese cuisine that has become a popular street food in Malaysia for its stuffed tofu. It is a Hakka Chinese food, whose name means stuffed tofu in Chinese. Throughout Malaysia, Chinese cuisine has evolved over the years, with Malaysian variations including various vegetables and tofu. They are either deep-fried, pan-fried, or boiled in soup stock and served with curry or dipping sauces.
There is no doubt that street food is not healthy at all, but for this particular one, it’s a good source of unsaturated fats, but it is pretty high in salt. It’s a good thing about yong tau foo that you can choose what goes into it, so you shouldn’t choose options that are deep-fried or pre-fried, such as taupok and fried fish balls, that have the potential to be healthy meals.
The amount of healthiness that Yong Tau Foo provides depends on the cooking method used. Therefore, you should opt for those that are less fried if you want to eat the healthier version of them. Now let’s look at how we can cook it.
Hakka Chinese food Yong tau foo, literally meaning “stuffed tofu,” is a dish made of tofu and bean curd skins, which are then filled with fish or meat paste. It is then deep fried and served with soup, and though it is called stuffed tofu, it is not just tofu that is loaded with meat/fish paste. The variety of vegetables stuffed with meat or fish paste is even more significant in Singapore. There are bitter gourds, okras, large chili peppers, eggplants, and many other fruits and vegetables. If you want to serve them with soup, you can either serve them on the side or dry them with the soup on the side.
400 gr ground pork
400 gr fish paste use store-bought fish paste
20 gr salted fish or substitute with 1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
8 cups chicken broth
100 gr small dried anchovies
1 cup soybeans
1 Tbsp Better than bouillon optional
½ tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Vegetables (apply only what you like):
5 -6 tofu puffs
1 large block of firm tofu if not using tofu puffs
2 medium Chinese eggplant
2 large bitter gourd
12 okra (lady’s finger)
10 large shiitake mushrooms soaked until soft if using dried
6 large red chilies
Cooking oil for pan-frying
1 tsp cooking oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup water
1 Tbsp ground soybean sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
2 tsp cornstarch + 3 tsp water
1 stalk green onion finely chopped
It is not necessary to use fish paste for yong tau foo. You can use pork ground with fish paste in place of the fish paste. Ground pork, fish paste (store-bought), cornstarch, and seasonings are all you need.
You can steam or pan-fry yong tau foo items, but deep-frying is usually the preferred method.
Steaming: Place the yong tau foo items on a steaming plate over high heat, and steam it for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, and the meat is soft (but not mushy).
Pan Frying: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook all the items until they are crispy and browned from all sides in batches. Some vegetables take a longer time to cook than others.
FOR THE SOUP
- The soup can either be made from scratch or purchased, add anchovies (ikan bilis) and soybeans, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain the soup, discard the solids, and season with salt, pepper, and sugar as desired.
- To prepare the filling you can use store-bought fish paste or ground pork to prepare the filling. Mash the salted fish if you use it, and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything, cover, and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of your food. This can be prepared a day in advance.
- It is recommended to soak the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about an hour to become plump and provide a nice flavor. You must cut the bitter gourd into 1-inch rings and discard the seeds. You will need to slice the okra in half vertically and remove the seeds.
- The filling should be scooped up using a spoon or a table knife to fill up the vegetables. The filling should be smeared onto the eggplant piece and sandwiched between the two pieces of eggplant so that it does not get dislodged when they get cooked. You should overfill eggplant a bit because it will shrink when cooked and get dislodged.
FOR THE FRIED SAUCE
- Stir fry the minced garlic for about 30 seconds
- Add water and ground bean sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Stir until the sugar melts.
- Thickened with cornstarch solution
In the soup version, layers of pieces of yong tau foo are arranged in a bowl. A generous amount of hot soup is spooned over the pieces. Garnish with green onions.
In the Sweet Sauce version, arrange the yong tau foo items in a bowl. You can drizzle the sauce on top or serve it on the side. It’s your call! You can also thin the sauce if you want.