Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fried Tofu with Salted Fish, Minced Chicken and Prawns

If I was a fish, I would be insulted.

What’s with all the rumours about me having a 3 second memory? Well, guess what? It's not true! Scientists have found that I can actually recall information for months. Just seems like an excuse to put fishy in a corner. Do you think I’m not aware that all I see is my own tail in my fishbowl?

I’m always the most disposable species. “I’m vegetarian but I eat fish - it's ok to eat fish because their brains are too small, they don’t have consciousness, they don’t have any feelings, they don’t feel pain...” I mean what am I? A swimming vegetable? 

Sometimes I’m made to feel important. I’ve always got a market price attached to me but then I'm overfished and the payback is that now the sharks are coming closer to shore and going after you humans (!) 

Some don’t like eating me because they think I smell weird, apparently I smell too fishy for some people. I might be white meat but the reality is that I don’t taste like chicken. 

People don’t like to eat cats and dogs because they are kept as pets and therefore it’s unimaginable that you would eat them, but no one takes offence at me being eaten and I’m a pet too!

 If I was a fish, I would feel underappreciated.


Tofu is underappreciated too.

It’s accused of being bland and flavourless. People don’t like the texture of tofu or think it smells weird.  

I do not understand people who do not like tofu because I LOVE tofu and I LOVE fish too.

Especially dried Chinese salted fish. Some people might think that it stinks and it’s known as poor man’s food as it’s inexpensive, can be kept for a long time and a little goes a long way. Salted fish can also be an acquired taste but I’ve grown up on it and it provides a tasty hit of umami. It enhances the flavour of a dish, similar to the way anchovies can be used to intensify the flavours of dishes. Salted fish provides a distinctive aroma and savouriness to dishes that always whets my appetite. I tend to eat more of a dish when there is salted fish in it.

Salted fish is commonly used in Cantonese cooking and you’ll always find some variation of a salted fish and tofu dish at a Cantonese restaurant. 

This is one of the most flavoursome tofu dishes I know how to cook. It has become the default tofu dish for my family whenever tofu is on the table as my whole family enjoys it. It's the addition of the salted fish that makes it a hit, which along with the tomato sauce, provides a rich umami flavour.

(You can buy dried Chinese dried salted fish from Asian supermarkets)
 (Chinese dried salted fish)

Fried Tofu with Salted Fish and Minced Chicken/Prawns

(An original recipe Blue Apocalypse learnt from her dad)


•    600g box of tofu
•    1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•    Meat - 150g of chicken thigh + 90g of prawns (approx 5 prawns shelled and deveined) seasoned with ¼ teaspoon of fish sauce, ½ teaspoon of oyster sauce, pinch salt and pepper.
•    15-20g piece of salted fish, finely chopped
•    2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
•    1 teaspoon ginger, grated
•    ½ red onion, sliced
•    1 ½ teaspoon sambal oelek
•    1 teaspoon fish sauce
•    2 teaspoons oyster sauce
•    2 tablespoons tomato sauce
•    ½ teaspoon sugar
•    1 cup chicken stock
•    salt and white pepper to taste
•    ½ - 1 teaspoon of cornflour mixed with water (for thickening sauce)


Finely chop the chicken and prawns with a cleaver so that it resembles mince. Add the finely chopped salted fish and season with a little fish sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Combine everything together, cover and refrigerate for an hour. 

(Chopping all the meat and seasonings together)

The box of tofu usually comes in 6 cubes which I quarter into logs. You can deep fry the pieces of tofu but I like to pan fry them in 0.5cm of oil in a frying pan. Turning regularly so that all sides are browned. Then remove and drain on paper towels.

(Pan fried tofu)

Discard the remaining oil from frying the tofu, heat a little vegetable oil in frying pan and stir fry the meat with garlic and ginger until golden brown. Then add sliced onion, sambal oelek, oyster sauce, fish sauce, tomato sauce and sugar, stir fry to combine and add stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in the tofu and simmer for a few minutes. 

Serve with steamed rice.

Here are some of my other tofu recipes:


  1. Tofu really is the understated hero in a lot of Asian dishes. I am so happy that I have converted my other half to appreciating this with me. Especially house made silky!

    1. I agree :) Tofu is a hero! I haven't made tofu from scratch before but I definitely want to try it one day.

  2. I never ate tofu until my son married a young woman from Taiwan. She kept saying, "oh come on Mom, move into the 21st century." so I did. :) (obviously with the "Mom," they're in the states)

    Lovely recipe.

    1. Thanks Maureen :) Don't know why people get weird about tofu. You just need to know how to cook it well and have a good sauce!

  3. Tofu is a bit hit and miss with me but I think it depends how you prepare it! I really like the dried fish strips you get in asian supermarkets. I tried them in Borneo and have been addicted to them ever since.

    This dish looks amazing, adding it to my make list :D

    1. Dried fish strips are really addictive! I especially love the dried squid :) Hope you will enjoy this tofu dish.

  4. Oh wow! Such great skills! Where do you get your crimp thingy-majig from?

    1. Hi Msihua :) Do you mean a curry puff crimper? You can generally find them at Asian supermarkets.