Hakka pork-stuffed tofu

pork stuffed tofuLast weekend, Lorraine Witte, The Chinese Lady and author, invited me to her kitchen to cook some dishes from The Hakka Cookbook. We cooked a famous Hakka classic, stuffed tofu (niong dou fu). This dish was invented as a result of migration. When the Hakka migrated to the south, they wanted to make the dumpling they had eaten in the north. They could not find the wheat flour needed to make the dumpling wrappers so they improvised and stuffed the meat filling into chunks of tofu.

You can watch us cooking pork stuffed tofu here. The full recipe appears on page 33 of The Hakka Cookbook and originally came from Natalie Com Liu who taught me in her kitchen in Lima, Peru.

IMG_3774There are many variations to stuffed tofu. The original filling was pork because the Hakka lived inland. As they migrated to the coasts, they often added seafood. The tofu could be steamed, deep-fried, poached, or pan-browned and braised. This steamed version is one of the simplest. Feel free to embellish the ginger-scented pork filling to your tastes.

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Save your culinary history

Natalie Com Liu cooks her Hakka dishes in her kitchen in Lima, Peru as I record her recipes.

Zester Daily invited me to write a piece for Soapbox.  I struggled over the subject and wrote several different drafts. Eventually I settled on “recording your culinary history.” I was inspired by a blog post written by Pat Tanumihardja for The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook a few months ago.

A few days after I filed the post, I learned about the unexpected death of one of my Hakka contacts in Toronto. That reminded me of another contributor, a young chef from Beijing who had also passed away a few years ago. Life passes quickly. I’m so glad I was able to record part of their history while they were still here.

If you always wanted to know how your grandmother, father, or great-aunt cooks their special dish, ask them now. With Chinese New Years coming up soon, it’s the perfect opportunity to capture some of those special dishes. Spend some time with them. Watch them cook, take notes, shoot photos or a video, and taste their food. Record their stories and history. They will be flattered and you will be able to pass on their culinary legacy. Pretty soon, you will be writing your own family cookbook.

 

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