I doubt if any Chinese , Japanese and Koreans do not know any thing about soya beans. Some soya bean products such as bean curds are so common that the Chinese name (“Tofu” or “ 豆腐“） have been accepted as an English word. I was once told that Japanese women had one of the lowest breast cancer risk because of their long term consumption of soya beans based products. However, for this post, I did not do a detail research on this.
Soya beans have isoflavones that may inhibit the risk of breast cancers and there is an inverse relationship between the intake of isoflavones and miso soup with the risk of breast cancer. (source: Soy, Isoflavones, and Breast Cancer Risk in Japan) . I have to be fair that there are also subsequent, contradictive research studies that rebutted its properties of inhibition and proved that “it may not necessary be able to inhibit the risk of breast cancer…”. Well, just from these two simple conclusions without going into details, in my humble opinion, soya based products are general good and nutritious to your body. If it’s able to inhibit breast cancer, it will definitely a plus point. However, without this property, tofu are packed with vitamins and proteins which are essential for our body growth.
There are really many types of soya based products which are used as Chinese cooking ingredients. This post will roughly highlight to you the various common types of soya bean related products in Chinese household cooking. Due the worldwide globalization and improve in communication systems, some of the soya bean related products originated from Japan and Korea are also being accepted by Malaysian and Singapore Chinese households. One good example will be the Miso soya bean paste.
The post will have two recipes – Tofu Puff Meat Balls In Miso Soup and Meat Stuffed Taukwa with Sweet Black Fermented Beans Sauce. In addition, I will refer you to another few recipes that I have written on soya bean products. These recipes will use the following common type of soya beans products.
- Tofu puffs – This is a type of tofu that were deep fried with a golden yellowish skin. It is fluffy and light and can withstand long hours of cooking;
- Taukwa – This is also called hard bean curd, a type of tofu that has less moisture content than the normal silky bean curd or tofu. It is firmer and with a meaty texture. It is good for stir frying and deep frying.
- Chinese black fermented beans – This is a type of fermented soya beans made by fermenting and salting. Usually, it is used in Chinese cuisines for flavouring and used in making the black bean sauce (as in the recipe below) for dipping or as toppings. The normal type of Chinese black fermented beans can be slightly spicy and very salty. However, today, the brand I used had a totally different taste. It is a product from Taiwan ROC, sweet and no other condiments are deemed necessary when cooking using these black beans.
- Japanese Miso pastes – Most will know that Miso is another type of fermented soya bean paste. It is brownish and in a paste form. It is tasty in its unique way and most commonly used in the cooking of Japanese seaweed soup.
- Egg Tofu – Egg tofu is rather common in recent years. It is just like the normal tofu except with the addition of eggs in a certain prescribed ratio. It is soft, full of egg fragrance and one of the well received dishes by kids. Egg tofu are usually used in soups or some light stir frying dishes due to its silky texture.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
These ingredients are for both recipes (servings: 3-4)
Minced meats to be used for both dishes
- 500 grams of minced meat
- 200 grams of fish paste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of corn flour
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of white pepper
- Some chopped spring onions (optional)
- Some winter vegetables (optional)
Tofu puff meatballs in Miso Soup*
- 5-6 square small tofu puffs
- 5 big tablespoons of Miso Paste
- 1 tube of egg tofu
- Some lettuces
Meat Stuffed Taukwa with Fermented Black Bean Sauce*
- 1 big piece of taukwa (drier bean curd)
- 2 big tablespoons of black fermented black beans (sweet)
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 cm ginger minced
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
* Ingredients in these two categories were not in the picture above.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Marinating The Meat (both for recipes)
- In a big bowl, put all the ingredients together (fish meat, corn flour, spring onion, minced meat, sesame oil, white pepper, winter vegetables). Use a pair of chopsticks or a tablespoon to stir it until well mix. Marinate for 15 minutes.
Meat Stuffing The Tofu Puffs
- Take a piece of tofu puff. Cut it diagonally into two halves. Use a teaspoon to “poke” the centre and make a tofu puff boat. Put 1-2 teaspoons of the marinating meat inside the cavity. Try to stuff as many as possible until it resemble the shape of a volcano (as my kids called it). Set aside and put it in the fridge.
My kids “insisted” they want to help before they take the bath
Meat Stuffing The Taukwa (Firm Tofu)
- Cut the taukwa into 4 smaller pieces. Use a knife to cut the centre a bit, use a tablespoon to dig out a cavity. Stuff as much minced meat as possible inside the taukwa. Set aside and put it in the fridge.
Making the Meat Balls
- Put some minced meat in your hand. Squeeze until a small ball appeared. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the balls. Set aside for later use. Store in the fridge. If it is too sticky, put some water in your hand and continue.
TOFU PUFF MEAT BALLS IN MISO SOUP
- To summarize, for the dish, you should have the tofu puff meat balls, half of the meat balls, some lettuces, 2 tablespoons of miso paste, 1 egg tofu.
- Bring a pot (about 5 cups) of water to boil under high heat. Add in tofu puff meat balls and meat balls. Let it boiled for about 3-4 minutes. The meat balls will considered to be cooked when it starts to float in the Miso soup.
- For the egg tofu, cut into small pieces and put in the boiling Miso soup. Add in lettuces and off the heat. No seasoning or condiment is required as the Miso soup is already very tasty.
Cooked Miso Soup with Tofu Puff Meat Balls and Egg Tofu
- Best served hot as a soup item to go with a full set Chinese meal.
MEAT STUFFED TAUKWA WITH BLACK FERMENTED BLACK BEAN SAUCE
- To summarize, for the dish, you should have some minced ginger, minced garlics, corn starch solution (1 tablespoon of corn starch in 3 tablespoons of water), 2 tablespoons of sweet black fermented beans, half of the meat balls and the meat stuffed taukwa.
- In a frying pan, put some oils, heat the oils under high heat. Deep fry the meat stuff taukwa and meat balls until the outer layer is golden in colour. The taukwa may take about 5 minutes but the meat balls will be cooked within 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving plate. If you prefer, you can put these in an oil absorbing paper.
- In the pan, use some oil from deep frying the meat stuffed taukwa, put in minced gingers and garlics, stir fry until aromatic. Add in Chinese fermented black beans, stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add in half cup of plain water and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the corn starch solution. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes or when the sauce is transparent (meaning not milky). Off the heat.
- Place the fermented black soya sauce on the serving plate. Arrange the meat stuff taukwa and meat ball in the desired pattern. Drizzle some fermented black bean sauce on the top of the meat stuffed taukwa and meatballs. Garnished with some spring onions or coriander leaves before serving.
- Best served hot as a side dish in a full Chinese meals.
Note: If there are no black fermented beans, you can just serve the fried meat stuff taukwa with mayonnaise or Thai sweet chilli sauce, or just oyster sauce alone.
OTHER SOYA BEAN RELATED POST
For other soya bean cuisines, you may want to refer the following post:
STEAMED EGGS WITH TOFU (Please click the link or the picture below)
HOT AND SPICY TEMPEH (Please click the link or the picture below)
SEAFOOD TOFU (Please click the link or the picture below)
GADO GADO (Indonesia Salad) (Please click the link or the picture below)
CHINESE MEAT ROLLS (Wrapped with dry bean curd sheets) (Please click the link or the picture below)
- Minced Taukwa Omelette （豆干蛋饼）
- Braised Eggs and Bean Curd (豆干卤蛋）
- Bean curd Omelette (豆干蛋饼）
- Braised Eggs and Taukwa (卤蛋和豆干）
- Stir Fried Taukwa With Fish Cake (豆干鱼饼“碰”)
This is a rather long post. As can be seen the various recipes here, soya bean play a very important role in most Malaysian and Singapore Chinese diets and cuisines. We can easily put up a meal that are full of “tofu relatives”. What I have covered in this post may only accounted for 20-30% of the soya bean products used in our cuisines. There are many other ingredients such as the silken tofu, tofu jelly, dried bean curd stick, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, bean curd sheets etc…
Hopefully for my international readers, you will have a better understanding about tofu and its related products. Do try to have some simple tofu dishes at home and I am sure it wouldn’t disappoint you. Hope you like the post today.