Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Home-made Yong Tau Foo in Sweet Broth 自制酿豆腐汤底

I friend asked if I know how to make fish balls. Yeah, I did a couple of times. That was when I just moved to my place and didn't know there is a stall in the wet market selling fish paste. The ready-made fish balls in the supermarket didn't smell and taste good so I decided to get my hands all sticky with fish paste.

Nowadays, I buy ready-made fish paste to save me the hassle of making my own. But since I was asked, I thought I should really try it again to make sure I still know how to make it. I prefer to use 西刀鱼. (Sorry I don't know the English name for this fish. Anyone who does, please enlighten me. Thanks.) (A sweet reader has kindly send me the link on this fish. It's called Ikan Parang aka Whitefin wolf-herring. Thanks, HL.) 西刀鱼 sweeter but has lots of tiny bones which is not a good choice if it's given to kids.

I'm using Mackerel with is commonly used. You can also ask your fishmongers for suggestions. They will know. Basically most fishes that can be made into paste, except for oily fishes like Cod. The only thing that defers is the taste and not as bouncy as those you buy off the shelf.

It's easy if you have a blender at home. Just ask your fishmongers to debone and remove the skin of the fish for you. The bones and skin you can keep to make fish broth. You then chop the fish meat into smaller pieces and throw into the blender to blend into a smooth paste. You can add some salt and pepper if you like. Some people I know add some cornflour to it but I didn't as I think the paste can hold quite well. If you don't have a blender at home, then you will need a strong arm. Just follow these steps:

  1. Slice open the fish with skin still on but bones removed. The skin is used as a base to let you scrap off the very last bit of fish meat.
  2. Scrape the meat with a metal spoon.
  3. Add some salt and pepper.
  4. Smash the meat (I use a tenderiser but it can be messy) using a spoon against the bowl. This is where the strong arm takes it's role.
  5. Smash the meat till it become a smooth paste, not even bits of fish meat insight.
  6. Make sure the fish meat becomes paste-like. 
  7. Now lift the paste and throw in on the chopping board of bowl, whichever you are working with. Throw a few times (a good way to vent your frustrations :P) 
  8. Dust about 1 tablespoon of corn flour and mix it well with the fish paste and it's ready.
  9. To do the fish balls, get ready a bowl of water.
  10. Hold some paste in your palm, squeeze it gentle closing your finger into a fist.
  11. Give more space for your thumb and forefinger (close up like an 'O').
  12. As you close the other 3 fingers, the paste will squeeze out from the top.
  13. Use a spoon to scoop out and place them in the water to prevent sticking together.
I used the paste to stuff into bean curd, tau pok, ladies' finger and also to wrapped with bean curd skin. You can also use it to stuff eggplant, bitter gourd, chili, mushroom, etc. Just like what you see in the Yong Tau Foo aka 酿豆腐 stall. You can try my very own Dual Coloured Tofu with Fish Paste with it too! *wink*

I made my Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐 broth by brewing 150g Soya Bean 黄豆 with 70g Ikan Bilis 江鱼仔 for 2 hours or till the Ikan Bilis turn opaque. Sieve it and the broth is ready to be used.

To make a nice bowl of Home-made Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐 in Soup, just have a pot of broth, add in your Home-made Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐 and other ingredients you like (I have added crabsticks) and bring to a boil. Add in the vegetable during the last minute of cooking. Scoop out into a bowl, topped with some fried garlic, shallot and sesame seed oil and enjoy!

Yong Tau Foo 酿豆腐 originated from the Chinese Ethic group, Hakka, and is very common in Singapore.

* the stuffed and fish ball *

* the Fish Paste *

* The stars in the making of the sweet broth *

* Home-made 酿豆腐 in sweet and tasty broth *


  1. It's interesting that u add soya bean to make soup. I've never seen it b4. :)

  2. Blur Mommy,
    Can you get soya bean? You should try. Can make very sweet broth with it.

  3. Hi,

    I tried this simple dish today and it tasted quite nice. I swear by your recipes for din-din everyday leh! Thanks for being so kind in sharing your recipes.

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Did you roast the soya bean before boiling. Thanks

  5. Cindy, I didn't realise I didnt reply to your comments. Sorry about it.

    Thanks for trying it out and liking it. :)

    Pushpa, Yes, I did roast it for a few minutes though it's not necessary. What I understand is it will help release the flavour faster when cooking it. It's like pre-soaking.