Auntie Ruby's Hakka Yong Tau Foo (Part 2)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Malaysian brand from Sheng Shiong
In the introductory post on my Mum's Hakka Yong Tofu, I gave the recipe on making the stuffing or filling. Once you get that done, the rest should be easy. I also gave details on making stuffed brinjal. I continue here with the rest of the HYTF pieces. Most of these should come to you naturally as you get down to this. Don't expect to get it all perfect the first time round. As I have advised, start with 2 or 3 types first. But once you have eaten this, there is no turning back and it will be etched forever in your gastronomical memories: this is Hakka YTF.   

Stuffed Bean Curd ("foo chook") is another all-time favourite in my Mum's line-up. It is certainly mine. So which type of bean curd should you get? My view is that they are all delicious in their own way when fried. So, if you have some leftover bean curd, use it. If you are buying, I like to use those which come in large sheets and normally used for desserts. The reason is simple: these come in large sheets with regular size that is easier to be divided into rectangular portions. I will not use one variety which is very salty and normally used for Ngoh Hiang. Not worth the effort to remove the salt nor does it taste good cooked this way. Check the "Skytime" brand as in photo on the right. This brand tasted great. In fact, for most in my family, this is the star of the HYTF line-up.

Stuffed, rolled and prepared for the fry
First, you need to wet them so that are soft, pliable, able to be shaped and stuffed. Dipping into a tray of water briefly should do. Or, wipe with a wet cloth. When pliable, snip into rectangle portions of about 6x10 cm. The size also depends on the original size and shape of the bean curd. Spread a portion of the stuffing and roll (along the grain) into a "flattened cigar", as in photos. The stuffing holds the bean curd together and so, add bits near the edges will make the rolling easier.

Some prefer a layered roll. Others, a thick stuffing in the center. Up to you. Lay the roll with it's weight on the outer edge so that the skin will not stick out. Once the bean skin hits the hot oil, it will crisp and firm up. Unlike the stuffed brinjal, you do not want to char any part of the foo chook, which can happen very quickly if the fire is too hot. So, keep the fire at medium. You should still hear a gentle sizzling sound when the roll hits the oil. Control the fire to get consistent fried finish without charring. About a minute or less on each side.

Stuffed chili is another favourite. Red or green, up to you though I prefer the taste of red. If you buy from the wet market, you can choose your own pieces. Use the "fatter" ones. Make a cut along the piece and de-seed using the handle end of the spoon. Then fill in the stuffing in the center of the pocket. When frying, use medium heat. Note: you want to cook the stuffing without over-cooking or wrinkling the chili. Use shallow pan frying. Put the side with the stuffing into the oil. You may need to hold it in place with a pair of long chopsticks. A minute or two.  

Okra (Lady Fingers): Slit and add the stuffing in. You do not need to remove the seeds. Follow the same principle as chili for the frying. Avoid wrinkling. After frying, you can choose to serve it in the soup.

Stuffed Tofu (as in lead photo): Use the Tau Kwa version (assuming you are in Singapore). If you are in Malaysia, use "soi tau fu", which you can find at the wet market. If you are in neither, poor unfortunate you, but I am sure you can get something from the Asian market. You can choose to serve it fried or just lightly fried, and then into the soup. 

Fried Tofu Pok (fried tofu with brown outer layer): Use the smaller ones if you intend to make "inverted tofu pok." Slit and turn it outside in. Fill in the stuffing. Looks great (like a bad hair cut) with a good crunch. Medium fire, 1-2 minutes. If you are destining it for soup, use the larger ones and cut into triangles. Fill it is and into the soup it goes.

"Inverted" stuffed fried tofu pok

There are some other possibilities, i.e., mushrooms, green pepper and improvise according to the veg you have or what is in season. You can choose to make a whole spread if it is a HYTF party. For a sit-down family dinner, cooking 3-4 types will do.

As for stuffed bitter gourd, making the soup and sauces, and yes, eating it with some nice chee cheong fun: this in the third and final last installment of ARHYTF.

Meanwhile, give this a try and surprise your family.

Part 1 - Part 3 - Recipe summary 

Plated for serving

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  1. Made some last night for cell group too. But instead of frying, I roasted them. Works well for the chilli and okra but won't be good for the Foo Chook.

  2. That will certainly be healthier! We ate with that chee cheong fun ordered tog with sesame sauce from Kwong Woh Hin, delicious :)- jennifer

  3. Ieat - Have not done it before but can give oven roasting a try. If using oven, I wonder though how to avoid wrinkling the chili skin.

    Shallow pan fry uses a little oil. If cooked carefully, about the only oily piece is the Foo Chook as the rest do not absorb a lot of oil. I suppose main thing to to drain the oil off before serving. Tilt the foo chook vertically to drain off oil after taken out of the pan.

    But Hakka version (with the pork) is definitely less healthy than Cantonese's!

  4. I made these HYTF for dinner tonite for my family! Everyone loved it! :)) Thks for sharing ur recipe - lots of work , almost a whole day! But sooo... worth the effort! I especially love the crispy beancurd rolls - my 1st time using the dessert type beancurd for deep fry! Thks for the great tip - I couldnt get the SKYTIME brand u recommend in Perth but still turned out fantastic!

    Susanna, Perth

  5. HYTF need time to make but yes, like u said, it is worth it.