As a child growing up, we are often reminded to not play with our food.
“Eat it! It’s not Play-Doh!” was the retribution we would often get.
I loved forming little balls with my mash potato and making mash potato (snow) man. I would also eat mash potato with curry and tomato ketchup (don’t judge me).
The Boy told me he too liked “playing” with his food growing up, often creating a moat with soup around his rice and using broccoli and cauliflower as trees.
Children are so creative! (Adults, please don’t stifle your child’s creativity!)
These days, everyone is encouraged to “play” with their food to come up with as many creative food items as possible. Items that will be the stuff of legends.
Speaking of legends, today we bring you a recipe which has an intricate relationship with one of the Four Great Beauties of Chinese legends.
Legend has it that the “Pipa Tofu”, shaped to the musical instrument Pipa and (or) to some degree of likeness with the loquat fruit (the what fruit? The Loquat fruit) was a favourite dish of Xi Shi, a beauty so great that fish would forget to swim upon seeing her reflection and sink.
Pipa Tofu is also one of the Boy’s favourite dishes (although I am doubtful if the fish will sink upon seeing him I love you babe!).
In trying to replicate this dish, there wasn’t much information from cookbooks and thus, he had to scour the interwebs to find the recipe. One usually just places an order for this at a Chinese restaurant, and they always seem to know what to do (secret menu for Chinese people)
Fried Pipa Tofu Recipe
(Recipe adapted from Luxury Haven. Slightly modified from the original.)
Ingredients A (for the Pipa Tofu):
300g of Silken Tofu
40g of Minced Pork
20g of Minced Prawn
100g of Fish Fillet (minced)
2 Tablespoons of Diced Bacon
2 Tablespoons of chopped Mushrooms
1 teaspoon of Fish Sauce
1 teaspoon of Oyster Sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Ground White Pepper
1 Egg White (lightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon of Cornflour
Ingredients B (for the Sauce):
Reserved stock from the steamed Tofu mixture
1/2 teaspoon of Oyster Sauce
1/2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon of Shao Xing Wine
2 Tablespoons of Mixed Vegetables
1/2 teaspoon of Cornflour mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Water to create thickening
Coriander, Parsley, sliced Chillies to garnish
Other Ingredients/Kitchen Equipment:
Chinese Soup Spoon
Plain Flour (to coat Pipa Tofu before frying)
Peanut Oil (for frying)
In a large bowl, mash Tofu and add in everything else from Ingredients A. Mix everything thoroughly.
With a Chinese soup spoon, scoop a spoonful of the mixture and mould it into a shape of a Pipa.
Gently place the shaped tofu mixture onto a plate and pinch the smaller end to give it a more defined Pipa shape.
Make sure you place them evenly around the plate to prevent them from “sticking” to one another.
Steam the tofu mixture on high heat for 5-8 minutes (or until cooked). Remove plate from steamer. You will notice some liquid (stock) produced as a result from the steaming process.
Place your steamed Pipa Tofu aside to cool and drain liquid (stock) from the plate into a small pan. This will be the reserved stock used in making the sauce later.
Once the tofu cools down, lightly coat them with some Plain Flour.
Heat enough peanut oil (to about 190 degrees Celsius) and deep fry the Pipa Tofu till it turns to a nice golden brown.
Avoid over-frying, as it is already cooked (from the steaming) and you wouldn’t want to lose too much moisture inside.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Prepare the sauce by heating the small pan (with the reserved stock in it) and adding in the Mixed Vegetables, Oyster sauce, Sesame Oil and Shao Xing wine.
Cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat and add in your thickening. Stir for another minute and turn heat off.
Place Pipa Tofu on a serving plate and pour the sauce over. Top with some garnishing before serving.
I couldn’t help but exclaim how lovely the dish was. You see my friends, I’m not a great fan of Pipa Tofu, because I find that it’s got too much stuff in it. I like tofu in general. Alone without being incorporated into anything else.
However, this dish was a winner for me Yayy!
Thanks to Luxury Haven for this fabulous recipe.
So tell me dear readers, what has recently inspired you to create a “legendary” dish?