Tofu with minced pork is one home-cooked Chinee food served in every household.
And do you know that tofu (bean curd) has an ancient history from two thousand years ago?
Legend has it that Lord Liu An 劉安, a Han Dynasty prince, invented tofu around 160 BC. The earliest evidence of tofu production was found on the mural incised on a stone slab.
Another theory states that tofu was an accidental discovery because ground soybeans were mixed with sea salt. The mineral in the salt caused the soy mixture to curdle and become a tofu-like gel.
Today, you do not need to endure the awful taste of the gel-like curdles nor agree with the historian of the obscured origin of tofu. Instead, follow this recipe, and enjoy the best tofu recipe at your comfy home.
Tofu with minced pork- an easy recipe in just 4 steps
In this blog post, I will show you how to prepare tofu with minced pork topping, a home-cooked tofu recipe well-accepted among the Chinese in Malaysia.
Tofu with minced pork is easy to cook and delicious with a bowl of fluffy, steaming hot white rice. It is a forgiving dish that tastes fabulous if you make a mistake.
Let’s get started.
Step 1- Prepare the ingredients
Soak the mushroom
First, soak the dry Chinese mushrooms in water for at least an hour. The dry shiitake mushrooms will rehydrate and become soft, so you can easily cut them into small dice.
If you forget to soak the mushrooms in advance, you can use hot water to speed up the rehydration process.
Do not throw away the water after soaking the mushrooms. It has all the aroma of mushrooms. Keep the water after soaking and use it for cooking the meat sauce later.
Mince the meat
I use pork in this recipe. It is best to use fatty ground pork with about 20% fat to make it more tender. Ground chicken is the perfect alternative for those who do not eat pork, but the meat is dryer.
Minced the meat manually with a cleaver is the best, but you may want to use a food processor to do the job. The texture of mincing it is different from blending it with the machine. I certainly prefer to prepare it manually.
Mix two tablespoons of vegetable oil and a half teaspoon of cornflour into the minced meat and set aside. Mincemeat that mix with vegetable oil and cornflour has a smoother texture.
Step 2- Deep fry the tofu for extra flavor and texture
I’m using silken tofu in this recipe. It is pretty soft, so you have to be extra careful when handling it. As an alternative, you can use any soft tofu, regular tofu, or egg tofu for this recipe. Tofu can be easily purchased from Asian grocery stores.
Remove the tofu carefully from the box. Place it in a deep-frying basket gently. I deep-fried it in the preheated oil for about five minutes or until golden brown.
This method is my favorite way to prepare a tofu dish as it creates a layer of chewy ‘skin’ on the surface, contrasting the soft texture of the tofu.
You need to use moderate to high heat to fry the tofu to form the layer of ‘skin.’ Gently place the tofu into a deep fryer basket and deep-fry at 190°C/375°F until golden brown. Since tofu contains plenty of water, it will take longer to turn brown than frying chicken or fish. The temperature of the oil must be hot enough to dry out the outer layer quickly to form a thin and crispy ‘skin’ which effectively ‘’lock’ the moisture of the tofu from seeping out.
Deep-frying also adds extra flavor to the tofu. I particularly like the chewy ‘skin’ formed after deep frying, which has a different texture and flavor from the tofu.
There are two tips I want to share with you while frying tofu:
- First, resist the temptation of moving the tofus in the frying basket too often, as they can break easily. You can hold the basket’s handle and shake it lightly to avoid it from sticking to the basket.
- If you do not have a frying basket, get one. Otherwise, you can pour the oil into a large skillet to fry the tofu. Lightly move it around for the first minute to avoid the tofu from sticking to the bottom. Let the tofu rest in the basket until it is cold enough to handle. Place it on a plate and gently cut it into halves. Reposition the tofu slightly so that it looks like there are two blocks.
Step 3- Make the sauce
- Saute the garlic and onion in vegetable oil over low heat until they turn aromatic. Since garlic browns faster than onion due to the higher water content, you should saute the onion first and then add the chopped garlic after a minute.
- Next, add minced meat to the garlic, onion and stir-fry over low heat.
- Next, add the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, a dash of ground pepper, and 1/4 cup of water.
- It will easily stick to the wok/saucepan over high heat. Once the meat is no longer sticky, you can crank up the heat for another minute.
- Next, add the mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients. Stir and mix until it turns into a thick sauce. Now it is ready for the final step.
Note: This sauce is a Cantonese-style sauce that is nonspicy. You can make a spicy Szechuan-style sauce by adding some Sichuan peppercorns, chili bean paste, chili peppers, and vinegar.
Step 4- Plating and garnishing
Pour the hot sauce over the tofu. Garnish with some cut scallion ( also called green onion and spring onions) and chili.
You can view two videos I uploaded previously to show how to prepare chili and scallion for garnishing.
Tips and notes on how to make tofu with minced pork
Here is a list of useful tips to make this tofu with minced pork recipe.
1. Types of tofu
There isn’t any fixed rule about which types of tofu are in the recipe. You can use any kind you prefer, like choosing pasta to cook with a creamy sauce. However, it is easier to handle tofu with a firm texture, as it is not so easy to break into pieces. You may have other choices at where you stay. Do explore and look at the results with different types of tofu.
2. Steam and braise the tofu with minced pork (alternative method)
Since tofu has already been cooked when you purchase, some restaurants in Malaysia serve the tofu chilled, with the hot meat sauce as the topping right before serving. There is an incredible feeling when you simultaneously bite the hot sauce and cold tofu.
Note that water in the tofu will keep seeping out from the cold tofu. Pour away the water on the plate before adding the meat sauce to be served undiluted.
Mapo tofu is one typical example of braised tofu. You can check out my mapo tofu recipe for a detailed explanation.
To prepare mapo tofu, braise the tofu with the meat sauce rather than using it as the topping. The tofu is usually cut into smaller cubes and mixed with the sauce. As a result, the tofu will often break down into smaller pieces due to mixing it with the sauce. In addition, the flavor of the meat sauce will absorb by the tofu.
3. Other common ingredients
Some other common ingredients for the tofu with minced pork recipe include fermented soybean paste and broad bean paste, which render a much stronger savory taste.
Other ingredients are dry Chinese mushrooms, pickles, and french beans.
I like to include some Chinese pickles, which will give a sharp contrast to the subtle taste of the meat. As for the French beans, it provides a crunchy feeling and freshness to the dish.
Garnishing the tofu with minced pork is relatively simple.
Add plenty of coarsely chopped scallion on top of the tofu before serving. The scallions have a crisp texture, much like lettuce, which is a welcome addition to the subtle flavor of the meat sauce.
You can also sprinkle some fried shallots on the meat sauce before serving. It has a distinct aroma and matches perfectly with the flavor of tofu.
Now it is your turn to decide. Do you prefer to use the meat sauce as the topping or braise the tofu? Let me know by leaving your comment below.
The Tofu with Minced Pork Recipe
- 1 Chinese dried mushrooms
- 1 box soft tofu
- 70 g minced meat, pork or chicken
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, chopped
Ingredients B (Seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- A dash ground white pepper
- 1/4 cup of water
- Chopped red chili and scallion
- Soak the mushroom in warm water until it is soft. Remove the stem and cut it into small cubes.
- Cut the square tofu to half, deep fried in hot oil at 190°C/375°F for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Saute the onion and garlic with vegetable oil until that become fragrant. Add the minced meat and stir-fry until it becomes aromatic.
- Add the mushroom and the seasoning (Ingredients B) until the gravy thickens.
- Place the tofu on a plate and topped with the minced meat gravy.
- Garnish with chopped red chili and spring onions. Served.
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Serving Size:2 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 908Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 1512mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 72g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/29/2019