Yong Tau Foo Meat Paste, Stock and Method


Singaporean healthy dish, Yong Tau Foo. The wonderful thing about this recipe is you can experiment with stuffing any vegetables that you like. I choose brinjal and red chillies.

Recipe for Yong Tau Foo 釀豆腐
Ingredients for Yong Tau Foo:
  • 4 large green chillies (seeds and core removed)
  • 1 bittergourd (ends removed, seeds and core removed, cut into rings)
  • 4 small pieces tau kwa (firm soya beancurd)
  • 4 pieces tau pok (fried beancurd puffs)
  • 4 shitake mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 4 stalks if xiao bai cai
  • Fried shallots and coriander for garnishing 
For Meat Paste:
  • 50g cod fish fillet (blended)
  • 350g minced boneless chicken thigh - skin removed (twice blended)
  • 5 water chestnuts (chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1-2 tbsp light soya sauce
For Stock:
  • 2 pieces of chicken breast (skin removed)
  • 400g of boneless chicken thigh (or chicken feet)
  • 5 dried Japanese scallops (medium sized)
  • 125g soya beans (pre-soaked in water for at least 3 hours)
  • 10 seeds of wolfberries
  • 2 red dates
  • 5 big bowls of water
How to make Yong Tau Foo:
  1. Scald chicken breast and 400g of chicken thigh with boiling water to remove blood traces excess oil for clear stock.
  2. Place chicken breast and chicken thigh together with all other stock ingredients into a pot. Bring to boil and simmer for at least 4 hours.
  3. Mix all ingredients for meat paste.
  4. Make a horizontal slit for green chillies, tau kwa and tau pok. Stuff vegetables with meat paste.
  5. Bring stock to boil and add stuffed bittergourd and shitake mushrooms into the soup. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Bring stock to boil once more and add stuffed chillies, tau kwa, tau pok and xiao ba cai into the soup. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Serve garnished with coriander and fried shallots.
*Another version of Yong Tau Foo - Anchovies stock


Recipe submitted by Lawrence Lim 
Original recipe - Hedy Khoo, The New Paper (Eats) 29th July 2012
Image credit - Beaten and Baked

Fried Catfish

Fried catfish is an icon of Southern cooking: For many, there simply isn't any other way to prepare it. Arguments rage over whether it's best deep-fried, battered, breaded with cornmeal, or even just simply dredged in flour. This, to my mind, is a healthy debate.

Now I love a good beer batter, and some fish are best with that simple dredge of flour. But not catfish. Catfish need breading. Cornmeal breading. There's something about a cornmeal crust that really sings with catfish. Maybe it's the combination of a truly American fish with a truly American grain.

This is a simple dish, but there are a few keys to good fried catfish: Hot oil, and the right breading. If you've ever had soggy, greasy catfish, it's because the oil is too cold. You want it around 350 degrees. And use peanut oil if you can -- it adds a lot of flavor. (Lard is even better... just sayin'.) For the breading, use fine, white cornmeal if you can find it. This, sadly, is not always easy outside the South. In the absence of fine, white cornmeal, use the regular stuff with a little flour. Unless it is finely ground, an all-cornmeal crust tastes gritty.

As for seasoning, what we provided below is just what I like to use; you can use whatever seasoning you want, from your own concoction to Lawry's to Zatarain's, Old Bay or even just lemon pepper.

Serve your catfish with whatever you want, but traditionally you'd want cole slaw and hush puppies, which, if you've never heard of them, are a fried cornmeal dumpling. Hot sauce on the side, too.

Barbecued Pork Shoulder on a Gas Grill

Barbecue
Barbecue. There is nothing better than a good pork shoulder roasted "low and slow" as they say, over wood smoke. The long cooking time and low temperature ensure a succulent roast. And the smoke? Well the smoke is the whole point of barbecuing in the first place, otherwise you could just as easily use a slow cooker.

The thing is, to do this right, you really need a smoker, or a barbecue with a separate box for wood chips. I don't have either. I may get a smoker at some point, but at the moment, I do have a perfectly functional 2-burner gas grill. The good news is that you can indeed achieve a pretty decent barbecue with your grill, if you watch the temperature and keep up the smoke. It just takes a big more finagling and a lot more attention.

I've barbecued a half dozen pork shoulders on my grill over the last few weeks, just to get the method solid. What follows is the approach I used to get the best results. I found this grill method works best with a 4 pound Boston butt shoulder roast, instead of an 8 pound picnic shoulder roast. With an 8 pound roast you are basically getting up really early in the morning to hopefully have the meat done by dinner time. With a 4 pound roast, or two 4 pound roasts cooked at the same time, the whole timing of the barbecue is more manageable. The meat requires several hours of smoking to get infused sufficiently with smoke flavor. After that, it's just easier to finish, wrapped in foil, in a 300° oven. It's hard to maintain a consistent low temperature on a grill, gas or charcoal. Wrapping in foil in the oven helps to capture all of the juices and rendered fat from the last hour or so of cooking.

With a good rub, and a long smoke, barbecue sauce isn't really necessary. But do feel free to add some of your favorite barbecue sauce at the end, when you've pulled the pork apart.

Any experienced grill barbecuers out there? I'd love to hear your tips for perfecting barbecued pork shoulder on a grill.