Tofu with minced pork is one home-cooked dish that served in every Chinese household.
And do you know that tofu (beancurd) has an ancient history way back to two thousand years ago?
Legend has it that tofu was invented by Lord Liu An 劉安, a Han Dynasty prince 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 as the result of ground soybeans was 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 to agree with the historian of the obscured origin of tofu. Follow this recipe, and you will be able to 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 most of all delicious with a bowl of fluffy, steaming hot white rice. It is a very forgiving dish that still tastes fabulous even you make a mistake.
Let’s get started.
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Step 1- Prepare the ingredients
Soak the mushroom
First, soak the dry Chinese mushroom in some water for at least an hour. The dry mushroom will rehydrate and become soft so that you can cut it into small dice easily.
If you forget to soak the mushrooms in advance, you can use hot water instead to speed up the rehydration process.
Do not throw away the water after soaking the mushrooms, it has all the aroma of the mushroom. Keep the water after soaking and use it to cook the meat sauce later.
Mince the meat
I use pork in this recipe. It should have about 20% fat to make it more tender. 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 somehow different from blending it with the machine. I certainly prefer to manually prepare it.
Mix two tablespoons of vegetable oil and a half teaspoon of cornflour to the minced meat and set aside. Mince meat that mix with vegetable oil and cornflour has a smoother texture.
Step 2- Deep frying the tofu for extra flavor and texture
Remove the tofu carefully from the box. Place it in a deep-frying basket gently. Deep-fried it in the preheated oil for about five minutes or until it turns golden brown.
This method is my favorite way to prepare tofu dish as it creates a layer of chewy ‘skin’ on the surface which provides a sharp contrast to 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 fried at 190°C/375°F until golden brown. Since tofu contains plenty of water, it will take longer to turn brown comparing to 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:
- Resist the temptation of moving the tofus in the frying basket too often as they can break easily. You can hold the handle of the basket and shake it lightly to avoid it from sticking from the basket.
- If you do not have a frying basket, get one. Otherwise, you can pour the oil in 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- Made 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 content of water, you should saute the onion first and then add the chopped garlic after a minute.
Next, add the minced meat to the garlic and onion and stir-fry over low heat. Since it contains cornstarch, it will tend to stick to the wok/saucepan easily over high heat. Once the meat is no longer sticky, you can crank up the heat for another minute to get the signature aroma of stir-frying (wok-hei).
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.
Step 4- Plating and garnishing
Pour the hot sauce over the tofu. Garnish with some cut scallion and chili.
You can view two videos I upload previously to show how to prepare both chili and scallion for garnishing.
Tips and note 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 which types of tofu in the recipe. You can use any kind that you prefer, very much 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 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 bite the hot sauce and cold tofu at the same time.
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 so that it is served undiluted.
Mapo tofu is one typical example of braised tofu. You can check out my mapo tofu recipe for the 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. 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, both render a much stronger savory taste.
Other commonly used ingredients are dry Chinese mushrooms, Chinese 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 right before serving. The scallions have a crisp texture very much like lettuce, which is a welcome addition to the subtle flavor of the meat sauce.
You can also sprinkle some fried shallots on top of 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: 908 Total Fat: 61g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 38g Cholesterol: 159mg Sodium: 1512mg Carbohydrates: 22g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 5g Protein: 72g