This is my family’s egg tofu recipe with minced meat. This recipe is unlikely a familiar dish for non-Chinese, as you may not find this in Chinese restaurants outside Asia.
Many of us are familiar with wonton noodles, General Tso’s chicken, and dan dan noodles. Those are the Chinese dishes regularly featured on the menu. But in reality, these are not the dishes we cook at home in an average Chinese family.
Fried tofu with minced meat is much closer to the heart of regular homemakers. It is a humble dish called ‘home cook dishes’ 家常菜.
If you want to know what will be served in an average Chinese family, egg tofu topped with minced meat is one typical example. Usually, home-cooked food is relatively easy to prepare, and there will not be any unique ingredients required. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the kitchen pantry.
I use egg tofu in my recipe because it forms a beautiful disc shape after cutting it crosswise. But, of course, you can use other tofu if you like. You use whatever is available in the refrigerator when you get hungry. That is the way that home-cooked food should be.
Let me show you how to make it.
Step one: Prepare the ingredients.
The first step is to prepare all the ingredients. My culinary textbook called it mise en place, but I had learned it long before I read the book, from my mother and through experience.
Mince the garlic and chopping the onion are daily activities in my home kitchen, and I have to chop the onion in multitude in my restaurant until teary.
Garlic and onion are essential aromatics. Things won’t turn out well without them, even with extra ingredients and seasonings.
Besides the tofu, other main ingredients are mincemeat and mushrooms.
Minced pork is the choice for most people. But I am using chicken breast meat in this egg tofu recipe for a healthier alternative. If you prefer pork, I suggest you use pork with 20% fat and 80% lean meat. It always works out juicier and more tender.
Soak the dry shiitake mushroom until fully hydrated. You can soak it in advance, even overnight. If you run short of time, there is a shortcut without sacrificing the quality- soak in hot water. It works.
The common mushrooms available locally (here in Malaysia) are Shiitake mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, and enoki mushrooms. You will most likely be served with mushrooms if you dine in Asia. However, feel free to substitute with button mushrooms, portabello, or other variants.
Cut the mushrooms into small cubes. Set aside.
Japanese egg tofu (the Japanese type, usually sold as egg tofu tube) is my choice. Japanese tofu is made with a mixture of soy milk and egg. It has an egg custard texture and is firmer than soft tofu. Cut the tube of egg tofu about 1cm thick, and the tofu will look like large scallops!
However, you can use other tofu as long as they are not too soft and breaks into small pieces when you deep-fried it. Silken tofu or other regular tofu are good alternatives, but be careful because they can break easily.
Chinese pickle 菜蒲
White radish pickle is a very traditional Chinese condiment. There are two types- sweet and savory. (They are not sour.) Add a teaspoon of this pickle to the meat sauce if you get some. It adds a whole new dimension of distinct Asian flavor. It is available in most Asian grocery stores.
Step 2: Deep fry the tofu
The deep frying process is relatively straightforward. Remember, you are dealing with tofu. Be gentle!
- Put some oil into the frying pan over medium heat. After the oil is heated, lower the tofu into the pan.
- Gently move them slightly during the first minutes to prevent them from sticking.
It takes a few minutes before the surface of the egg tofu starts to firm up and change color.
- Flip the tofu pieces over to deep fry the other side until they turn golden brown.
- Remove and drain on the kitchen paper towel.
Note: You can pan-fry the tofu if you want to save some oil. It also makes it healthier that way.
Step 3: Prepare the sauce mixture and cook
I am using the commonly available Chinese seasoning for this tofu recipe – oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, a dash of ground white pepper, some cornflour to thicken the sauce, and the mushroom water that I reserved.
Combine all the above ingredients in a small bowl. Of course, you can add the seasonings directly into the wok separately, but I prefer my mise en place, which improves the workflow during cooking.
- Next, add some vegetable oil to the pan. Saute the chopped onions and garlic until aromatic.
- Then put the minced meat into the pan and stir-fry until it turns color.
- Next, add the mushroom and the seasoning that you have prepared.
- Let it cook over low heat until it starts to thicken.
A meat-free alternative to the fried tofu recipe
This egg tofu recipe is flexible, so there is a lot of room for you can make changes. For example, you can substitute the meat of shimeiji mushrooms for meat-free tofu dishes.
– Omit the mincemeat; use the shimeiji mushroom.
– Use more mushrooms as a substitute for the meat.
– Use the vegetarian oyster sauce instead of the ‘real oyster sauce.’ (A few sauce companies use the mushroom extract to produce sauces that taste and look like oyster sauce.)
– Add the shimeiji mushroom to the garlic and onion. Saute for a while until the mushroom turns soft.
– Add the seasoning and cook until the sauce thickens.
Add the tofu back to the mushroom. Have a quick mix gently, and dish out.
- Arrange the fried egg tofu pieces on a plate. Some people would like to put it on a hot plate for better presentation.
- Spoon the minced meat mixture on the tofu as the topping.
- Sprinkle some chopped green onions and red chili on top to garnish.
- You can serve the egg tofu on its own or with steamed rice.
The Fried Tofu with Minced Meat Recipe
Main ingredients (A):
- 300 g egg tofu (2 tubes)
- 90g minced meat
- 2 dry Shitake mushrooms
- 1 onion, about 100g, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- OIl for frying
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- A dash of ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
- 1/4 cup of mushroom water
- Chopped scallion
- Chopped red chili
- Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
- Soak the dry shiitake mushroom until fully hydrated. Cut it into small pieces.
- Cut the tube of egg tofu disc shape, about 1cm thick.
- Deep fry the tofu until golden brown. Remove and drain on the kitchen paper towel.
- Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan.
- Saute the chopped onions and garlic until aromatic.
- Add the minced meat and stir-fry until it turns color.
- Add the mushroom and the seasoning. Cook over low heat until it starts to thicken.
- Spoon the minced meat mixture on the tofu as the topping.
- Sprinkle some chopped scallion and red chili on top to garnish.
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T-fal E91898 Ultimate Hard Anodized Scratch Resistant Titanium Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Anti-Warp Base Dishwasher Safe Oven Safe PFOA Free Glass Lid Cookware, 12-Inch, Gray
Havista Dried Premium Flower Shiitake Mushrooms, 6 Ounce
Pearl River Bridge Golden Label Superior Light Soy Sauce, Plastic Bottles, 16.9 oz
Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil, 11 Fluid Ounce
Serving Size:16 small bites
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 773Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 648mgSodium: 1678mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 56g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/3/2019