This is a traditional Hakka style of food. My dad is from a Hakka background, so I am technically half Hakkanese. We have our own language, food, and culture. If you want to know more info about Hakka, just go google it. Wikipedia has a full explanation. This is a recipe that my family makes whenever there is a festival.
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Hakka Style Stuffed Tofu Recipe (客家酿豆腐)
Ingredients for the stuffed tofu
Ingredients to season the mushroom soaking liquid
Ingredients to cook the tofu
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of the seasoned mushroom water
- 2.5 tbsp of oil to pan-fry the tofu
Ingredients for the gravy
- 1 tsp of oil
- 2 cloves of garlic grated
- Few pieces of hot chilies chopped
- 1.5 tsp of the white part of spring onion reserve the green part for garnish
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of the seasoned mushroom water
- Cornstarch water 1.5 tsp of cornstarch + 2 tsp of water
- Soak 4 pieces of dry shitake mushrooms with 1/2 cup +1/3 of a cup of water. I did this 4 hours in advance. The mushrooms I used are small. If your mushroom is big, 2 pieces are enough.
- Once they are nice and soft, squeeze the water out. Save the soaking liquid for later. Slice and dice the mushroom into fine little pieces.
- In a big mixing bowl, add in 5.5 ounces of ground pork, 3/8 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of soy sauce, 2 tsp of Chinese cooking wine, the mushroom and 1/4 cup of spring onion. Mix the filling until everything is well combined. Then stir it within one direction for 3-5 minutes. Throw and beat the filling to develop the texture until you can see some strings appearing.
- I am using 2 packs of tofu. 300 grams each. You want to pick firm tofu for this recipe because it doesn’t break easily while you are frying and flipping them over. If you are not sure, check ingredients. If you see Glucono Lactone is on the list, that is the soft tofu. If you see Gypsum on the list, that is the one you need for this recipe. Mine is in Spanish. I couldn’t read but I can tell from the texture.
- Cut the tofu into cubes. It depends on the size of your tofu. You don’t need to cut it the exact same size as mine. But overall, you want it to be big enough to make tofu container so we can stuff the filling in.
- Take one piece. Use a dining knife. Cut along the edge. Be very gentle. Yes, they are firm tofu but they are still delicate. If this is the first time you are doing it, don’t stick the knife too deep, you don’t want to break the bottom. Once you cut a rectangle, carefully take out the middle part and there you go - a little tofu container.
- You just keep doing that until you finish everything. You will have lots of extra tofu that you took out. If you don’t want to waste that, you can put it in soup such as egg drop soup or hot and sour soup. I know the shape doesn’t look good. But you are running restaurant right? Who cares?
- Now we can stuff the tofu. This is the part when you can get your friends and families involved. It is like making dumplings but easier because you don’t need to wrap it. Take one tofu container. Use your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to support the edge of the tofu container so when you stuff the filling it, it won’t break easily. I finished all of them and I still go some filling left. Just split it into each piece to even it out. It is ok if you overstuff the tofu. Now you know how affordable this recipe is. We only used 5.5 ounces of meat. And this should be able to feed 2-3 people with some rice.
- Before we start cooking the tofu, let’s quickly make a sauce by using the mushroom soaking liquid. To that, add 1/8 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, and some white pepper to taste. You can also use black pepper. Mix it well. Make sure the oyster sauce is completely dissolved because that takes a while. Once you can not find any oyster sauce lumps, take out 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of the sauce to another bowl. That is for cooking the tofu. There should be 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of the liquid left which is for making the gravy. Don’t mess it up because the amount is different.
- Get a large frying pan. Add some oil. Be generous with the amount. Toss the pan so the oil covers the bottom. Don’t need to wait for it to get hot. Just directly place in the tofu - filling side down. Tofu is basically protein and water cubes, If you put it in while the oil is hot, you will get hurt by the splashing. Just the let it fry on one side until the filling is golden brown. It will take about 4 minutes on medium heat. Then you can flip them over let it fry the other side. You can brown one side or all the surface. I did 3 sides. One thing I will like to mention. When your hand is above the frying pan and busy flipping the tofu, you can turn off the heat for a second to avoid oil splashing. Because tofu produces liquid while frying, that causes lots of splashing and it hurts.
- Flip the tofu back to filling side up. I know, it looks like lots of chopstick work. Well, now it is time to practices. Pour in the seasoned mushroom liquid that we prepared for cooking the tofu. Cover it. Keep the flame on medium and wait until all the liquid is gone. If your lid is completely sealed, you need to leave a small gap so the steam can escape. Turn off the heat and take out the tofu. Set that aside and we are going to make the gravy.
- In a sauce pot, add some oil, along with some grated garlic and some diced white parts of spring onion. I reserved the green part as garnish. I also like to add some hot chilies. This is optional. If you don’t eat spicy food, you don’t need to add it. Stir until fragrant. Pour in the liquid we made before. Bring it to a boil. Then add in some cornstarch water to thicken it (1.5 tsp of cornstarch + 2 tsp of wateand your gravy is done. Pour it over the tofu. Sprinkle some spring onion for garnish. You are ready to serve.