Friday, June 18, 2010
It all started with a newspaper advertorial for a local hotel's restaurant. I saw the tofu dishes on promotion and zoomed in straight into this one:
Crispy Tofu, Corn Tossed with Salted Egg, Curry Leaves and Chilli Padi. Woooo ... sounds good! But to taste this dish, you'd have to eat it at The Fairmont Singapore. So, let's just wing it and make it at home, shall we?
I had two salted eggs in the larder and this dish was perfect. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with salted duck eggs, here's what they look like:
Fear not. That black stuff, according to Wikipedia, is damp salted charcoal and is meant to be removed. Haha! Rinse well under running water.
We are only using the yolks for this dish. As you can see, the yolks are firm and hold their shape even though they are uncooked. Mash them up like I did.
Fresh Chinese Tofu and Curry Leaves.
I suppose you can use any type of tofu (except silken tofu which may not hold well during frying), but I chose fresh Chinese tofu from the wet market (see picture above). The texture is not as smooth as those packaged ones at the supermarket but you really taste the natural beany goodness in every bite.
(Left) Golden and crispy tofu cubes; (Right) Salted duck egg yolks bubbling in butter. Mmmmmm.
When you fry the tofu, please don't do a half-hearted job. Take the time and effort to fry till they are golden and crispy on the outside. Otherwise you will end up with tofu that is fried but still mushy ... and if you want mushy tofu, you are better off eating it steamed or in soups. One of my pet peeves is eating fried tofu that is NOT crispy! Yuck.
(guess work by The Little Teochew)
- 1 slab fresh Chinese tofu, cut into cubes
- 2 salted duck egg yolks, mashed
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 chilli padi (bird's eye chilli), sliced thinly (optional)
- 1 knob butter or margarine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Note: I omitted corn because I didn't have any, but that shouldn't stop you from adding them if you like.
1. In a skillet, fry tofu cubes in oil until lightly browned. Add in garlic, curry leaves (as well as chilli padi and corn, if using) and continue frying till tofu is crispy and golden brown. Set aside and drain off excess oil.
2. In the same skillet, add a knob of butter or margarine, followed by salted duck egg yolks (mashed). Allow everything to bubble and foam.
3. Throw tofu cubes back in and mix everything to coat.
4. Taste test and season with salt or pepper if desired. Dish up and serve.
I omitted chilli padi because it was a dish for the whole family. But I would most certainly add some if I were cooking this for the adults only.
Overall, the dish was decent but nothing to shout about. I am pretty sure it has to do with me omitting the chilli padi and corn. I think I will just have to experiment again and see. That, or pay to eat the chef's creation. ;)