Have you ever wanted to make your own yong tau fu? Well I tried a homecooked one and found it miles better than the usual one in the shops. And… it’s not hard at all, just a bit of prep and finding the right fish…
” Firm, tasty fish stuffed in your favourite vegetables! “
My resolution this year is to learn how to make my favourite food. And recently I made yong tau fu! Woot! Woot! A good friend’s mum offered to teach me her super delicious YTF so one Sunday there I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
So firstly, you need to get the right fish. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIGHT FISH. The best fish for YTF is actually a fish called Tenggiri Papan or Pan Kow in Chinese. Ask your fishmonger. With this fish half the battle is won.
Such a beautiful fish
The flesh of this fish is firm and all you need to ask your fishmonger is to fillet the flesh from the central bone and you can literally scoop out the flesh with a spoon. I kid you not.
All you need is a spoon
Reason why this fish is so good is that the flesh when pounded does not disintegrate, in fact it develops a sort of gluten that makes it more elastic.
So you have your fish meat on a clean chopping board. To this add 1 teaspoon white pepper, ½ tsp of salt and 1 or 2 tablespoons of cornflour. You don’t want to use a lot, just enough to bind. This is homemade yong tau fu so it’s fish all the way!
Keep a small bowl of water handy so you can wet your hands while you are mixing it. Use the back of a knife to incorporate the flour into the fish (wet it a little if it’s too dry). Don’t use the blade side because you don’t want to cut the fish, simply to mix it and pound it. After this you can gather it up in a nice, smooth, shinny ball.
Pick it up and slap it down a few times on your chopping board so you get bouncy filling.
And really that’s it! You have the YTF filling.
Choose your vehicle so to speak for this fishy goodness. Today I had tau pok, eggplant (my favourite!), chillies and okra. For the tau pok, take a small knife and stuff your tau pok with the filling, smoothing it out on the flat side.
Cut eggplant into thick slices and slice a small pocket. This is where you put your fish paste.
For both okra and chilli, slice it lengthwise, clear seeds for the chilli and stuff it in! You want to be generous but not too much because you don’t want it to fall out when you are frying or boiling it. You’ll figure out the right vegetable/ filling ratio once you’ve done it a few times.
Fry your tau pok in a wide wok fish side down until it’s crisp. Eggplant too goes in. Fry it until nice and golden brown. You want it soft with that rich, umami taste. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
Set a pot of water to simmer and you just need to blanch okra and chilli about 2 minutes or so.
Yong Tau Fu Sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cili padi, minced
1 tsbp. taucu
2 cups water
1 tsp. dark soya sauce
1 tbsp. light soya sauce
¼ tsp. sugar
A good dash of white pepper
2 tsp. cornflour mixed with a bit of water
2 spring onions sliced
For sauce, fry up garlic and cili padi with taucu and a bit of the spring onions.
Fry it until fragrant and a little crispy.
Add rest of the ingredients and tau pok. Put in cornflour water to thicken. (You want to do this before the wok gets too packed).
Add eggplant, chillies and okra and finally the rest of the spring onions.
Done! There you have it. Homemade Yong Tau Fu. Simple, delicious and pretty healthy. I like to eat mine with red chillies, blended with a bit of vinegar and sugar.