Bean curd puffs, also known as tofu puffs or ‘tau pok’ to many southeast asians are one of my favourite variants of the humble bean curd. The healthier version of the bean curd or tofu is dense and has very high water content. The puff version is deep fried, hollow-ish and dry which is very much like a sponge and when cooked in sauce or soup, it soaks up all the wonderful flavours and is totally delicious. I love them in soups, in laksa, sliced and stir fried or in this case – stuffed!
Stuffed bean curd puffs is considered ‘street food’ and is quite commonly found in Singapore or Malaysia food centres. The puff is split in half, lightly toasted and then filled with healthy goodies like julienned cucumber, bean shoots and slices of boiled egg and served with a creamy satay (peanut) sauce. The freshness of the cucumber and bean shoots, the crisp outer tofu shell and the nutty yumminess of the satay sauce is simply a divine combination.
It’s so easy to prepare, very cost-effective and rather healthy as a meal in itself – unless you’re like me where I am over-generous with the satay sauce and I totally drench the little puffs. Oh yum. Many people enjoy this dish as a starter, but it’s surprisingly satisfying as a main. A great summer dish.
Stuffed Bean Curd Puffs
Recipe for 4 as a starter or 2 as main
1 packet tofu puffs (about 14 – 16 pieces)
100 g beans shoots, blanched
1/2 cucumber, julienned
2 large hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Slice the tofu puffs almost all the way through, lightly toast or grill on both sides. Stuff the toasted puffs with equal amount of cucumber and bean shoots, then top with sliced egg and chopped peanuts. Serve immediately with a side of satay sauce.
I used ready made satay sauce this time, but if you fancy making some yourself, here’s a quick and easy recipe from a previous post.
This summer in Melbourne is a true reminder of the song by Crowded House – Four seasons in one day. From blazing hot 38C days to chilly 15C. To make the best of it, I enjoy myself by cooking and eating cool summer salads to rich, warming soups all in the same season. Awesome isn’t it?
On one of those stinking hot days (i’m not very good in extreme heat – picture Oscar the grouch scenarios) I really didn’t feel like cooking or doing anything for that matter but I really wanted a light, healthy and delicious lunch. So despite the non-desire to cook, I left behind my personal indent on the couch and moved sloth-like to the kitchen to whip this dish up. And I was glad I did. I love dishes that require such minimal cooking but yield great results. There’s no sweating over a hot stove either – thanks to whoever invented electric kettles and microwave ovens!
PRAWN, FENNEL AND TOFU SALAD
20 medium prawns, shells removed (I used frozen ones)
150g fresh firm tofu (bean curd), cubed
1 small fennel, sliced finely
1 red chilli, seeds removed and sliced finely
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp crispy fried shallots (available from asian stores)
handful of fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley), leaves picked
100g glass noodles (bean thread vermicelli)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
Prepare dressing by whisking lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar and ginger until all the sugar has dissolved.
Cook prawns – you can boil them in a pot or cook them in a bowl of water in the microwave for 5 minutes (or until cooked through), drain and set aside to cool.
Place glass noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave aside for 10 minutes, then drain and cool by running through some cold water.
Assemble salad with all of the ingredients including cooked prawns and noodles except the fried shallots.
Toss salad with dressing, then top with fried shallots. Serve cool. Yum.