Let’s cook Hakka Yong Tau Foo!
Here’s one of our favourite dish from Max mom’s! The ones served outside simply can’t compare.
[This recipe is one of our NINE Favourite Recipes of 2020. Check out the post here].
Let’s cook Hakka Yong Tau Foo!
For this recipe, we actually make our own paste – vs. buying ready-made paste. It takes extra effort but it is worth it to get the freshest and best quality fish.
Mom’s yong tau foo (YTF) is usually served with tauchu-based gravy for the authentic Hakka recipe (yes, my mom’s Hakka).
Tofu puffs from Bentong
We used the okras, brinjals and tofu puffs we bought from Bentong. The latter two are super good! We bought our tofu puffs from Auntie Mok in Bentong, which also sells tau fu fa.
Click here to find out more about Bentong.
Originating from Guangdong, you can find iterations of this dish in Hong Kong and other parts of the world called Three Treasures (煎釀三寶) – with the three treasures being bitter gourd, brinjal and chilli.
The ones here in Malaysia (especially Hakka style) incorporate pork into its filling – with a lot more varieties of vegetable and can be served with soup and/or gravy. It is also sometimes served with chee cheong fun (flat rice noodles) and sweet sauce/chilli sauce on the side.
Our favourite spots for YTF
* For best taste and texture, we mix pork(or chicken) and fish with a 50:50 ratio. You can of course slightly increase the fish portion – we find that spanish mackarel (ikan tenggiri) is the best to make YTF.
* Do NOT add salt when making the fish paste as it would make it too mushy. Instead, add the salt to the pork/chicken mix.
* Add a touch of salted fish (ikan masin) to the paste for added savouriness. We usually fry the ikan masin first to release fragrance.
* We like to make our paste in bulk – extra paste can be kept in the freezer. Just defrost it for the next round of YTF.
* While our YTF is served with gravy, you can actually serve them with soup or chilli/sweet paste dip if you prefer.
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Key steps in Pictures
Mom’s Hakka yong tau foo Course: Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Intermediate
Mom’s recipe for delicious Hakka Yong Tau Foo.
250g ikan tenggiri (Spanish Mackarel)
200g minced pork/chicken
10g salted fish
1/2 tbsp corn starch (mix with 1 tbsp water)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
5 firm white tofu blocks
1 large bittergourd
6 tofu puffs
10 okras/lady fingers
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp tauchu (fermented yellow bean paste)
1 cup water
1 tbsp corn starch (mix with 2 tbsp water)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
- Prepare the meat filling
- Heat up oil in pan and lightly fry the salted fish until crispy and brown. Set aside to let it cool down.
- When salted fish has cooled down, chop it until it becomes fine.
- In a small bowl, mix the salted fish with minced pork/chicken. Slowly add water as you mix it. Add the corn starch as you continue to mix it with your hand. Add salt and combine well.
- Prepare the fish filling
- Clean your fish and remove skin and bones.
- With a chopping board, cut the fish meat into small pieces. Then mince them further – it is ready when you can form it into a ball in your palm.
[CAUTION: Do not add salt as it will break the protein down and make it too mushy!]
- Combine both the fish and meat paste. (You can make into a ball and fling it unto the chopping board a few times to make it combine well).
- You may add water or corn starch mix to get a nice consistency. IT should be sticky and soft but firm enough to make small balls and stuff into vegetables.
- Prepare vegetables and add filling
- Prepare the vegetables as such:
White tofu blocks – Cut a small slit at a corner of tofu block. Stuff filling into slit.
Brinjals – Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Place a good portion of filling in between two brinjal pieces.
Bitter gourd – Cut into 1-inch pieces and removed seeds in the middle to make rings. Place fillling into cavity.
Toff puffs – Make a slit at the centre of one tofu’s side. Stuff filling into slit.
Lady fingers – Make a slit lengthwise and stuff fillings into it.
- It’s fry time!
- Heat up cooking oil (about 1/2 inch deep) in a pan and fry the brinjals over medium high heat. Fry until exterior is brown and crisp and interior is soft. Remove and drain oil (in a colander) or place on kitchen towel to remove excess oil.
- Fry the lady fingers next until it is soft and filling is cooked. Remove, drain excess oil and set aside. Repeat the same for bitter gourd and toff puffs. (A bit of charred surface is nice).
- Finally, fry the tofu blocks. Place the side with the filling face down unto pan. Be careful to not burn the tofu. Turn it around occasionally to get some nice charred surfaces. Remove when ready. [It is ok if part of the filling is not cooked. We will cook it again with the gravy].
- Cook the gravy
- Heat up oil in pan and fry garlic until fragrant. Add the tauchu and 1/2 cup water.
- When it begins to simmer, add the corn starch mix to thicken the sauce. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil. Adjust to taste.
- Add another 1/2 cup water or adjust to get a nice gravy-like consistency.
- When it simmers, add the white tofu blocks. [Optional: You may add other vegetables if you like – recommended for tofu puffs]. Cover and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes. The white tofu fillings will be thoroughly cooked when done.
- Turn off heat when done. You may pour sauce all the yong tau foo pieces in serving bowl, or serve it separately. Enjoy!
- For best taste and texture, we mix pork(or chicken) and fish with a 50:50 ratio. You can of course slightly increase the fish portion – we find that spanish mackarel (ikan tenggiri) is the best to make YTF.
- Do NOT add salt when making the fish paste as it would make it too mushy. Instead, add the salt to the pork/chicken mix.
- Add a touch of salted fish (ikan masin) to the paste for added savouriness. We usually fry the ikan masin first to release fragrance.
- We like to make our paste in bulk – extra paste can be kept in the freezer. Just defrost it for the next round of YTF.
- While our YTF is served with gravy, you can actually serve them with soup or chilli/sweet paste dip if you prefer.