Monday, August 22, 2011

Easy Yong Tau Foo

Yong Tau Foo in sweet anchovy broth, garnished with chopped spring onions

I happened to see some Red Fish for sale at the fishshop last weekend and images of Yong Tau Foo instantly sprang to mind. They were pretty inexpensive, so I bought about 300g of them and decided to make Yong Tau Foo on Sunday. We had Fish Tacos on Saturday by the way, which was as delicious as the first time I made them. No, actually it tasted better this time because I happened to have cabbage in the fridge and made cabbage and onion salad to go with it.

A quick and easy yong tau foo meal using Prima Taste Laksa packs

Anyway, back to Yong Tau Foo (which I will now refer to as YTF). It's a dish commonly found in Singapore food courts and hawker centres, where they have a wide array of YTF pieces for you to choose from. There used to be this super awesome YTF stall at Casuarina Road which is no longer there, and G and I think it's probably gone for good. We can't even remember the name of the stall, probably because we are always too distracted by all the different varieties of deep-fried stuff they had (being the main reason why it was our favourite!). I also love Malaysian-style yong tau foo, which is also served in soup, with chee cheong fun, and also Ampang-style with gravy.

YTF is actually really easy to prepare, and I don't know why I've been shying away from making it all this while. Basically, the fish (which I bought already filleted) is just minced in the blender with some dried shrimp, seasoned and then stuffed into tofu or vegetables. Then it just needs to be shallow-fried (optional, really, but I used stuffed chillies too and I wanted the chillies to be nicely blistered in the hot oil) and served with hoisin and chilli sauce, or served in Laksa (which I did on Sunday, using Prima Taste Laksa pack), or in anchovy broth (which I did the next day with the leftovers). Easy, right? Make sure, however, that the fish you use is fresh. You can substitute with Mackerel too, although I think they are a little more pricey. Find the recipe after the jump.

Bean curd sheets, tofu puffs and long red chillies stuffed with fish paste, and shallow-fried in oil

Yong Tau Foo
Makes about 16 pieces


300g fish fillets (Spanish mackerel or red fish is fine)
2 tbsp dried shrimp, washed and finely minced
2 tsp tapioca starch + 2 tbsp water
2 tsp fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Firm tofu or tofu puffs
Bean curd skin
Long red chillies


Chop up the fish fillets with a knife and then mince it in the blender together with the minced dried shrimp. Then, transfer to a medium bowl and fling it against the side of the bowl a few times until it's pasty and gluey. Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper.

Prepare the tofu and vegetables by cutting slits to form little pockets to stuff the fish paste in. Once they have been stuffed, you can choose to cook them in boiling soup, or shallow-fry them in oil first like I did before simmering them in your soup or laksa gravy. Then, serve with hoisin and chilli sauce, with some noodles or rice.

Soup base: Anchovy broth

To prepare the soup, take 1/2 cup ikan bilis, washed, with 2 cloves garlic and 2-3 slices of ginger. Add them to 6 cups of boiling water and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Add 1 tsp chicken stock powder along with salt and pepper to taste. Strain the soup. Add yong tau foo pieces and simmer briefly until softened to your liking. Transfer to a bowl, garnish with chopped spring onions, and serve with steamed rice or noodles!

I used a soup bag and filled it with ikan bilis, garlic and ginger. Soup bags are really useful
in keeping the soup clear and saves you the time from having to strain the soup.