Yong tau foo (Hakka Stuffed Tofu)
It’s the Frost’s Descent in the 24 solar terms yesterday and today, the last solar term in autumn. Usually weather would turn significantly cold after these few days. Thus I made Hakka stuffed tofu, served in a pot with Chinese cabbage in broth.
My grandfather, my mum’s father, is Hakka, so my grandparents mainly cook Hakka cuisine. Like most of the Hakka man, grandfather wouldn’t do much housework. But he would make stuffed tofu. Every time when grandmother called and said “grandfather would make stuffed tofu tonight, come for dinner”, I would consider the dinner very important and we would cancel our appointments and definitely go for the dinner. Grandpa made the most perfect stuffed tofu among us. He could stuff in silky tofu with a lot stuffing without breaking the tofu. In comparison, my aunt and mum could only put a thin layer of pork mince on top of the tofu and I could only make with firm tofu.
Grandpa would make a huge amount in one time. When he was doing the stuffing, aunts would pan-fry the tofu and later make a pot dish with Chinese cabbage at the bottom. My elder cousin brother liked steamed tofu so they would steam a plate of stuffed tofu for him. Grandmother would ask us to take away some when we left.
Firm tofu, 2 pieces, about 700g;
Pork mince, 200g;
Dry mini shrimp, 20g;
Chinese cabbage, 500g;
Oyster sauce, light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, salt, sugar, starch flour, white pepper, oil.
How to do –
1. Soak the dry mini shrimp for half an hour and finely chopped half of them. Finely chop about 5g of ginger;
2. In a big mixing bowl, add in the pork mince, chopped mini shrimp, chopped ginger, 1 tbsp of light soy sauce, 1 tspn of sugar, 1 tbsp of starch flour, 1 tbsp of Shaoxing rice wine, 1tspn of white pepper, a nip of salt. Mix well and keep stirring still the mixture turn sticky, just like how I make dumpling filling;
3. Cut the tofu in big cubes. Hold one tofu cube in your palm, use the chopsticks to chop a hole in the middle and move around, do it gently, and stuff a small amount of pork mince in the hole, use the chopsticks to press the pork in, also put a layer on top, use your thumb to help;
4. There might be some mince mixture left and I would make some meat balls;
5. In a non-stick pan, pan-fry the tofu double-sided with lots of oil in medium heat. The stuffed tofu can be eaten just like this but my family would like to make a pot dish, usually with a clay pot. But despite my induction hob, I would use a cast iron pot;
6. Tear or cut apart the Chinese cabbage leaves;
7. In the pot, add in the kelp, dry shrimp, cabbage, 3tbsp of oyster sauce, one and a half cups of water, put the stuffed tofu on top, lid on and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes;
8. Serve with the pot and chili garlic sauce. This is a hearty dish with meat, vegetable and hot soup.
We are no long going to my grandparents’ for dinner on Sundays since me and my elder cousin brother haven’t been in hometown for years. But we would go home for the important Chinese festivals and grandpa, though very old, still managed to make stuffed tofu for us.