Ever since its inception, I had never been a fan of the Asian Food Channel. A couple of imported programmes on the channel did strike my fancy, but these were normally not mainstream or hosted by well-known personalities. What I liked most about these few was that they taught me something new -- be it cooking tips or food cultures outside of Singapore.
Right now, I’m a big fan of Taste with Jason. In every episode, host Jason brings us on an armchair food escapade to little-known corners of Malaysia. Food aside, I have learnt much from the featured hawkers and personalities. Each of them would tell an interesting little history of their food, and display their conviction that preserving food culture is an important aspect of the migrant’s story.
This is one dish that I remember vividly from the series -- Hakka Sa Por Yong Tao Fu. It’s hard to find it in the city; but in some states, they still offer this snack in the villages. The ingredients are simple, but the look of the dish and the footage of people eating it, was so enticing that I simply had to jot the recipe down, and improvise on my own.
Sa Por Yong Tao Fu 沙婆酿豆腐
Minced pork 100 g, at least 20% fat content
Salted fish 30 g, deep fried and chopped into bits
Water chestnut 3, bashed and minced coarsely
Aniseed seed powder 1½ tsp
Salt ¾ tsp
White pepper 1 tsp
Spring onion 2 tbsp, chopped
Soy sauce ½ tbsp
Water 1 tbsp
Cornflour 1 tbsp
Bean curd cake (豆干) 2
Chinese lettuce 1 bundle
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Half the bean curd into a triangle. Cut a slit and sprinkle with corn flour so that the meat would stay in shape.
- Stuff marinated meat paste into the slit to leave a slight mound at the opening.
- Deep-fry the stuffed bean curd until the bean curd surface turns slightly golden. Drain and set aside.
- Steam the fried bean curds for 8 minutes.
- Wrap each bean curd with Chinese lettuce, pour some chili and/or sweet sauce and eat immediately.