This is a Malaysian famous Yong Tau Foo recipe that hubby and I made another day with a twist to traditional Yong Tau Foo dishes (Yong Tau Foo is stuffed tofu, chilli, eggplant and okra with fish paste). Instead of using fish mousse or fish paste as stuffing ingredients, our home-made Yong Tau Foo are customized to use grounded pork belly meat which replaced the fishy taste to earthy flavor of pork. While traditional Yong Tau Foo usually drenched in a clear and soupy broth, we have our Yong Tow Foo deep-fried until the grounded meat turned to brownish color (with bitter taste of bitter gourd and aubergine removed) and later brought to steam to ensure the stuffing ingredients are thoroughly cooked, excess oil removed and the textures of chilli, eggplant and okra are soften.
Learn how to make a simple homestyle Yong Tau Foo (tofu and vegetables stuffed with grounded pork Meat) using recipe below.
3 large okras (ladies fingers), slit lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), do not slice all the way through
3 large red chillies, slit lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), do not slice all the way through
½ bitter gourd, cut into ½ inch thick slices, remove white core
½ large Chinese eggplant (aubergine or brinjal), remove stem, cut into 1½ inch slices
1 piece firm tofu (soy bean curd), slice horizontally into halves to form a pocket
2 cups vegetable oil
Ingredients for Stuffing :
400g grounded pork belly meat
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp freshly-gounded white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
1. Using a blender, grind 400g pork belly meat while adding a bit of salt water slowly. In a mixing bowl, add sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper and corn flour, stir well in one direction to combine and mix into a sticky paste with a springy texture. This forms the stuffing paste for Yong Tau Foo.
2. For vegetables and tofu preparation :
- Slice firm tofu (bean curd) through the center to form a pocket to tuck in the stuffing paste later.
- Slice bitter gourd into ½ inch thick slices, remove white core. This leaves an empty ring in the middle to be stuffed with stuffing paste later.
- Cut Chinese eggplant [aubergine or brinjal] into 1½ inch slices. Then cut across in the middle with even thickness to form an opening for stuffing later, be careful not to slice all the way through .
- Slit ladies fingers and red chilies lengthwise in the middle, remove seeds and veins (for stuffing later), be careful not to slice all the way through.
3. Stuff with grounded meat paste using a butter knife but make sure that you do not over-stuff them. Else the stuffing ingredients will disassociate and fall off the vegetables and tofu during deep-frying.
4. Add 2 cups of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet, when the oil turns hot (make sure oil starts to bubbles), deep-fry the stuffed Yong Tau Foo until the grounded pork meat turns into brownish color on both sides. Dish up and drain on paper towels to discard excess oil.
5. Transfer to a steaming plate for steaming. Steam for 5 minutes to ensure all the stuffing ingredients are well-cooked and to soften the textures of chillies, okras and sliced eggplants. Yong Tau Foo are now ready to be served with Thai chilli dipping sauce and they go well with white steamed rice.
Cooking Tips :
- Chinese eggplants are available in several varieties. They are long, curved and slightly wider at one end. Choose Chinese eggplant that are firm with bright shiny skin.
- Any vegetable suitable for stuffing can be used, such as squash, zucchini, baby eggplant, peppers and tomatillo.
- Instead of steaming, alternatively you can prepare gravy and simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Saute some minced garlic, chillies, shallots and preserved beans (taucu). Then add in pre-prepared fish stock (boil fish bones with big onions in some water). Add pepper, sugar and soy sauce to taste. Lastly Yong Tau Foo added in and simmer for 5 minutes.