February 16, 2012
Deep Fried Bean Curd
Can you still remember the first time you tried to deep fry something? Meat? Vegetable?
Actually one of the first things my mother ever deep fried was Tou foo. Hence I remember how we love Deep fried Foochow Tou Foo which has been around since my younger days.
I will always remember them as my first deep fried food. In the 1950's no Foochow actually knew about deep fried Southern (American) chicken (ala KFC).
According to my aunt deep frying is a method used for "frying" snacks. Hence Pisang Goreng and all the cucur...
The Foochows make two kinds of tou foo - one is called the water tou foo or the soft tou foo which is usually used for soup.
Many Foochows would consider deep fried food too heaty. We usually preferred steaming,braising and just plain stir frying. Baking was troublesome as most people in those days did not have ovens with good temperature controls.
And then we have the hard tou foo which is sometimes called the tou foo cake or in Foochow Tou Wan. This is good for making of meat balls and steamed minced meat There is one dish that I like too : stir fried tou foo with bean sprouts.
Each is peculiar in texture and taste.
Sometimes I wonder if we could ever live without tou foo!! It is really a God given food.
As Confucius had asked "Why is it possible to have a cake from such a small amount of liquid?"
Tofu, made of soybean, is a traditional Chinese food known throughout the world.
Tofu is said to originate in the Western Han Dynasty. At the time, Liu An, the grandson of Emperor Liu Bang, was eager to learn the magical art of immortality, so he went deep into the mountain to refine immortal pills. He failed in his efforts to produce immortal elixirs, instead, a pile of white and tender material with enticing fragrance was produced after combining the bean juice with bittern. The brave local peasants tried to taste the product, only to find that it was delicious. And it was named “bean curd” or “tofu”. Liu An became an unexpected inventor of tofu, and his hometown, Shouxian County of Anhui Province, has been dubbed as “hometown of tofu”.
Simple in production and cheap in cost, tofu soon became people’s favorite delicacy. After the Song and Ming Dynasties, the culture of tofu spread even more widely. Many scholars and celebrities also took part in spreading the culture. The great writer of the Northern Song Dynasty Su Dongpo had a special fancy for tofu, and invented a tofu dish called Dongpo Tofu. The poet Lu Yiu of the Southern Song Dynasty also recorded the preparation of tofu dish in his anthology. More interesting is a record about tofu and Emperor Kangxi. When in Suzhou on his inspection tour to South China, Emperor Kangxi granted not gold, jade and curios to his high officials, but the dishes of tofu which were infused with a strong local flavor.
As tofu culture spread far and wide, people of different areas have continuously developed and enriched the recipes for the preparation of tofu dishes on the basis of their own tastes, such as Mapo tofu, stinky tofu, and uncongealed tofu pudding, etc. Simple as tofu is, it can be made into a table of Chinese dishes complete with beautiful color, sweet smell, and delicious taste.
Today, tofu and its derivative products has become a common food has gone globabl Two small pieces of tofu can satisfy a person’s need of calcium for the day.
Several times the toufoo I bought broke into pieces or smashed under some yams due to an oversight or a car breaking suddenly...and there was nothing to be alarmed about. Broken toufoo? Make a great Foochow Soup!! We can always have a good laugh too.
Or even Mapo tou foo...
To me tou foo is an excellent food because it is different with different sauces and I can never be tired of it and I am glad my children love it as much as I do. I can say..through thick and thin, in times of troubles and joy...tou foo to the rescue!!