Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hakka Yong Tau Fu (客家酿豆腐)

Stuffed Tofu  (客家酿豆腐)

Although I am a Hakka, I don't really know very many Hakka dishes, so when asked to name one Hakka dish, no doubt the classic Hakka Yong Tau Fu instantly comes to mind.  The Hakka versions of Yong Tau Fu has more depth of flavour with the addition of minced pork and salted fish or dried shrimps as well as minced garlic - which distinguishes  Hakka Yong Tau Fu from the Cantonese version which only uses fish paste as filling.   I am sure every family, Hakka or not, has their own version of Yong Tau Fu.  

I  like  to use  semi-soft tofu which are often too soft and delicate to cut into triangles and stuffed with filling.  So I adopted the 'open-face' method - which I scooped out a little cavity in the tofu and stuff with filling. The stuffed tofu is then pan-fried until slightly crispy on the outside but still maintain its softness on the inside; and then braised.  Besides tofu, a variety of vegetables can be stuffed with the fish and meat paste, eg okra, bitter gourd, eggplant, chillies, tofu puff, etc.  

It is indeed time consuming to make this laborious Yong Tau Fu dish but is well worth the effort.   

The 5 steps to making Hakka Yong Tau Fu from scratch: 
  1. Prepare  fish paste
  2. Prepare  Hakka Yong Tau Fu stuffing (fish & minced pork paste)
  3. Stuff  tofu 
  4. Cook the stuffed tofu (pan-fried and then braised)

1.  Prepare fish paste:  
1 Spanish mackerel tail  (yield about 800g flesh)
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp cold water

  • Fillet the fish.  Using a metal spoon scrape the flesh from the skin of the fillet as well as from the fish bones.  
  • Place the flesh and all the ingredients except water into the food processor and PULSE until fine, adding water gradually.  Process until the fish paste comes together and turns light colour.
  • With wet hands gather the fish paste together and keep 'throwing' it onto the chopping board until it becomes firm and shiny (wet your hands so that the paste won't stick). 
 [At this stage, you can make fish balls or stuff the paste into tofu or vegetables].

2.  Prepare Hakka Yong Tau Fu stuffing (fish & meat paste) :
800g fish paste
500g minced pork
70g dried shrimps, finely chopped or processed in the food processor
50g garlic, finely minced
3 tsp pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
3 tsp salt 
1/2 tbsp tapioca starch

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Throw the fish & meat paste onto the chopping board until it is firm. 
  • The paste is then ready to be stuffed into tofu (or any vegetables you prefer).
[Leftover fish & meat paste can be frozen]

3.  Stuff tofu
  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut a square on the tofu (do not cut too deep).  Use a teaspoon to carve out the tofu to make a crater-like hole and fill the hole with the fish and meat paste; smooth the surface with wet hands.  (Reserve discarded tofu for later **)

4.  Cook the stuffed tofu:

Ingredients for sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 shallots, minced finely
1 tbsp fermented soy bean paste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
sugar & salt (adjust to individual taste)
2 cups of chicken stock or water (approx)
1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 1/2 tbsp water - for thickening of the gravy
coriander leaves - for garnishing

  • In a frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.   Place the stuffed tofu with the stuffing side down and fry in batches until brown and crisped (about 2 minutes on each side).  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the oil.
  • With a little oil in the pan, saute garlic and shallots until aromatic.  Add in the fermented soy bean paste and sugar, stir quickly before adding chicken stock, oyster sauce and soy sauce.  
  • Arrange all the stuffed tofu  in a frying pan and pour in sauce.   Cover and let simmer  under medium heat for about 10 minutes (do not over cook the tofu).
  • Thicken sauce with cornstarch mixture.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

Yong Tau Fu

 **  Mashed tofu with fish and meat paste:

  • Mash the discarded tofu chunks.  Add in fish and meat paste and combine well.  
  • Make the paste into small patties and fry in hot oil.
  • Patties can be braised together with the Yong Tau Fu or eat it on its own with chilli sauce.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Homemade Meat Floss (肉松)

Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root)

Ingredients:  (Made 220g pork floss)

550g pork neck, cut into 4 cm cubes, blanched with boiling water
1 slice Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root)
2 slices ginger
1 1/2 cup water 
2 tbsp oil

Seasonings: ( Adjust according to personal preference)
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste
3 tbsp raw sugar, or to taste
dash of five-spiced powder

  • Cook the meat with until tender (add more water if it dries up).  Drain well and discard the dang gui.
  • Put the cooled cooked meat into a resealable plastic bag and using a pestle, flatten the meat.  
  • Transfer the meat onto a plate and use two forks to tease them apart.  Then put the meat into a wok together with 1 tbsp of oil and mix well.  Add in all the seasonings and fry over low heat until meat is completely dry and flossy (about 45 minutes).  Add the remaining oil and continue to fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Cool the meat floss and store in air-tight containers

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Oats-Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread

Do you know that the aroma of freshly-baked bread has more than just the power to make your mouth watered, it can also make you kinder to strangers? According to a study on the effects of delectable aromas and social interaction, the French researchers found 'spontaneous help was triggered by pleasant ambient smells'.  When volunteers dropped items outside a bakery giving off the sweet scent of baking bread, 77% of passers-by stopped and helped.  While other studies have made a connection between pleasant smells to better moods, the new study sought to make a concrete tie between aromas and good deeds.  Isn't that interesting?  

Adapted from Carol's  湯種100%全麥吐司


(A) Tang Zhong Dough (mix together and chill overnight in the fridge)
50ml scalded milk
50g organic wholemeal bread flour

(B) Main Dough
100g Tang Zhong
200g organic wholemeal bread flour
50g rolled oats
1 egg (50g)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
30g honey
90g cold milk

30g olive oil

extra rolled oats for topping

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (B) except oil together.  Then add in (A), knead until well combined.  Gradually add in olive oil and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingwrap.  Place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until at least doubled in volume.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide into two equal portions.  Shape into balls.  Cover and rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Flatten the dough into rectangular shape and roll them up like swiss rolls.
  • Place the two rolls  into a greased loaf pan; cover and let it proof again until almost doubled or 90%.  Spritz the dough with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.
  • Bake in a preheated oven (175 deg C) for about 40 minutes or until brown.
  • Remove the bread from the pan immediately.

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pipa Tofu ( 琵琶豆腐 )

Image from 4.bp.blogspot.com

These tofu patties are shaped to resemble  a  pipa (Chinese琵琶, prounced as Pee-pah) which is one of the oldest Chinese musical instrument with a pear-shaped wooden body; hence the name Pipa Tofu.   

(A)  Ingredients  (Makes 28 pieces)

160g minced Spanish mackerel flesh
100g minced pork
60g prawns, minced
40g bacon, chopped finely
50g carrot, chopped finely
4 water chestnuts, chopped finely
2 shiitake mushroom, softened and chopped finely
340g soft tofu, mashed
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
1 egg white
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tapioca starch

Mix together for coating during frying:
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tapioca starch

enough oil for deep frying

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (A) together to make a paste.
  • Grease porcelain Chinese soup spoons with some oil, scoop spoonfuls of the paste and mould into a shape of Pipa.   With wet fingers, smoothen the surface.  
  • Place the spoons on a stainless steel plate and steam for about 7 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid from the plate for later use.  Remove the tofu paste from the spoon.  
  • Lightly coat the steamed tofu with the prepared flours.  Fry them until golden brown. Drain well.
  • Serve the crispy Pipa Tofu with your favourite chillie sauce. 

Or cook the Pipa Tofu with vegetables of your choice:

Napa cabbage, cut into pieces
Bok choy, cut into pieces
Carrots, sliced
Enoki mushrooms
chopped garlic

(B)  Ingredients for Sauce:
reserved liquid from the steaming process
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp cornflour + 1 tbsp water

  • Heat a wok with a little oil, stir fry chopped garlic until fragrant.  Add in carrots and stir for about a minute.  Then add in the rest of the vegetables and enoki mushrooms together with the reserved liquid.  Season with oyster sauce and salt & pepper.  
  • Return the Pipa Tofu to the wok and toss well.  Simmer for a few minutes and thicken sauce with cornflour mixture.  
  • Dish out  and serve hot.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Golden Sponge Cake (千叶黄金蛋糕)

This recipe is a keeper!  It was taken from  美食杰, a Chinese website featuring many wonderful recipes.  I have no idea how to translate 千叶黄金蛋糕 into English, so I had to make do with the name 'Golden Sponge Cake'.  This moist and tender cake is kind of a cross between a chiffon and a sponge cake. 

The recipe didn't state the size of the pan used so I used my 30 x 20 cm rectangular pan and my cake turned out quite short -  only  2cm high.  And I decided to cut the cake into two and sandwiched together with some whipped cream.  
Source:   千叶黄金蛋糕  (with some changes)

1 egg yolk 

55g butter
55g warm milk
50g plain flour
15g corn flour
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 a vanilla bean pod

5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
55g caster sugar 

  • Line a 30 x 20 cm pan with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 160 deg C.
  • Sift plain flour and corn flour together.  Set aside.
  • Place 1 egg yolk into a small piping bag.  Set aside.

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat until small bubbles start to break on the surface. Meanwhile cut the vanilla pod into half, lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds and add into the melted butter.  Stir well.  Turn off heat.

  • Immediately add in flour mixture all at once and quickly stir to combine.  At this stage the batter should be quite thick.   Pour in warm milk and mix well.  Then add in whole egg and egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  The batter will become smooth and quite runny.

  • In a clean, dry mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with a handheld mixer until foamy, add in cream of tartar.  Then whisk until soft peaks form and add in sugar, in three additions and continue to whisk until it reaches firm peaks stage.

  • Add one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and gently mix until it is well incorporated.  Next, pour the egg yolk mixture into the meringue and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.

  • Snip off the end of the piping bag filled with egg yolk.  Pipe diagonal lines across the surface of the batter, drag a skewer or toothpick through the lines in opposite directions across the cake to create a feathered effect.  (As you can see, I didn't do a good job on the pattern, that is why I covered it up with icing sugar when I took pictures of the cake)
  • Bake for about 25 - 28 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Cool the cake completely before spreading whipped cream on it.

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Bake for Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Diana from the Domestic Goddess Wannabe


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Creamy Potato, Bacon & Egg Salad

Potato Salad
Potato Salad
Potato Salad


4 chat (small coliban) potatoes (about 275g), scrubbed
70g bacon
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/3 cup diced celery
2 hard boiled eggs
salt & pepper, to taste
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp olive oil

  • Cook potatoes in their skins in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well and set aside to cool. Remove the skin from potatoes (or you can leave the skin on if you wish).  Cut into big cubes.
  • Grill bacon until brown and crispy.  Drain the bacon slices on paper towels. 
  • Mash the hard boiled eggs.
  • Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and olive oil in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the mashed eggs.
  • Place the potatoes, diced cucumber, diced celery, chopped parsley and crumbled bacon in a mixing bowl.  Add in the mayonnaise dressing  and gently toss to combine.  
  • Serve.  


This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (July 2014 Event:  Potato) - organised by Mui Mui, My little favourite DIY and Zoe,  Bake for Happy Kids and  hosted by Jasline, Foodie Baker. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wholemeal Seeded Bread


(Makes 2 loaves)
Starter Dough:
210g organic bread flour
90g plain flour
24g caster sugar
6g instant dried yeast (1 1/2 tsp)
245g water

Main Dough:
250g organic wholemeal bread flour
50g plain flour
30g caster sugar
80g mixed seeds (sunflower, black and white chia seeds & pumpkin seeds) 
1 tsp salt
25g milk powder
160g water

70g butter, softened

  • Mix all the starter dough ingredients until well combined.  Cover and leave at room temperature until dough rises and becomes sticky and have a stringy appearance ("honeycomb-like").
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all main dough ingredients, except butter.  Then add in the starter dough, knead until well combined.  Add in butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and place it in a warm place to rise until dough is doubled in volume.
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Divide dough into 6 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a round shape; cover and rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape and roll them up swiss rolls style. Place 3 rolls into each greased loaf pan; cover and let it proof again until almost doubled (or 90%).
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg C for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Starter Dough:  Sticky with a stringy appearance ("honeycomb-like")
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