Scrumptious Yong Tofu 酿豆腐
Yong Tofu is one of my family's favourite dishes. We make it the traditional way from scratch. I learnt the traditional way of making fish paste from an old lady proprietress who ran a small eatery along the coastal roads of Selangor. You don't need any fancy chopper nor food processor to make this fish paste. Just use your hands, that is if you are comfortable with it. Alternatively you can use a chopper to mince the fish into paste. The process of making fish paste by hand may appear yucky to some of you but rest assured that the end result is yummy ! You get scrumptious, bouncy fish paste this way.
The Making of the Fish Paste
There are 2 types of mackerel. One is called 'pan kow' the other is 'chook kow'. Always ask your fishmonger for the 'pan kow' as this variety is the most suitable for making fish paste.
1 kg mackerel fish
2 heaped tsp salt
2 heaped tsp tapioca flour
1/2 cup of water
1. First, you clean and gut the mackerel fish
2. Then you fillet the fish and scrape out all the flesh taking care to remove all bones that you may come across and not letting blood or reddish flesh to be included as they tend to increase the fishy smell of the cooked stuff thus spoiling your effort.
3. Put all the scraped flesh into a large bowl
4. Add in the salt and tapioca flour
5. Use your hands to squeeze and crush the flesh.
6. Add a little bit of water at a time. If the flesh feels too sticky then add a little water to it to enable you to keep squeezing with ease.
7. Squeeze and crush until the flesh appears fine and is very sticky. For those who prefer the cooked flesh to be bouncy, then you must not add too much water.
8. Scoop the paste up with your hand and splat it down into the large bowl. Repeat this 3 to 4 times to make the paste firmer. Then use a wet spatula to scrape the fish paste at the edges of the bowl and add to the paste in the bowl and turn it into a neat and smooth lump.
9. You need to wet the spatula with water to smoothen the paste into a lump.
10. The fish paste is ready for use.
To prepare the vegetables before stuffing them with the fish paste
15 red chillies
15 tofu pok
15 small mushrooms
3 small bitter gourds or 6 pieces of normal bitter gourds cut into sections of 1 cm thickness each
2 sheets of bean curd skins
Note 1: There are so many other vegetables and soy bean products you can use e.g. soft tofu, hard tofu, lady's fingers, brinjals and capsicum. If depends on what you like to eat.
Note 2: Lady's fingers, brinjals and capsicum need to be pre-fried. A word of caution about cooking lady's fingers. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked especially the seeds because half-cooked or raw seeds can lodge in the intestines and may give rise to health problems.
2. Soak the mushrooms for a few hours until soft, sometimes there are mushrooms that despite soaking still remain hard, just discard these. Clean, wash and remove the stems. Squeeze out the water
3. Wash and dry the chillies. Cut a slit length-wise and remove the seeds and pith
4. Soak the bean curd skin for about 5 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces
5. You need to wet your fingers before stuffing the fish paste into the vegetables
6. The stuffed vegetables are now ready for cooking !
( Note : So sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the bitter gourds )
Now to cook them ......
Pre-Frying the Vegetables
1. Heat the wok until hot. Add 5 tbsp of cooking oil into the hot wok
2. Fry the bean curd rolls on both sides until brownish. Set aside
3. Fry the stuffed bitter gourds on both sides until brownish. Set aside
4. Fry the chillies on both sides, this is to ensure that further cooking later will cause the plastic-like outer film to come off easily as none of us in the family likes to eat that. Set aside
5. There is no need to pre-fry the mushrooms and tofu pok
Additional ingredients & Seasonings :
4 cloves garlic, minced
a)3 tbsp oyster sauce
b) heaped tsp salt
c heaped tsp sugar
Dissolve a,b and c in one rice bowl of water
In another rice bowl, dissolve 2 tsp tapioca flour with 1 Chinese soup spoon of water
1.Clean the wok.
2. Add in 2 tbsp of oil into the wok
3.Add the minced garlic, saute until fragrant, then add in the bowl of water containing ingredients a,b,and c. Add a further 3 bowls of water into the wok.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil
5. First add in the mushrooms, tofu pok and bean curd rolls. The tofu pok absorbs a lot of water and needs to be cooked longer. Add in the tapioca flour solution to thicken the sauce.
6.The mushroom is the fastest to cook and is ready when you see them floating to the surface. Remove them but let the tofu pok and the bean curd rolls continue cooking till soft. Dish up and serve.
7.For the chillies and the bitter gourd you will have to repeat the cooking procedure separately.
This picture does not contain the sauce that comes with the cooking because it causes the picture to be unattractive. So when you eat yours, don't forget the sauce.