Pan Fried Tofu Stuffed with Fish Paste 煎釀鯔魚滑豆腐
By Ellen L.Published: 2015-03-22
A simple and homey Chinese classic. Easy to prepare and delicious and fun to eat. An intriguing play on textures and tastes. The smooth silky blandness of tofu contrasted against the sea sweet fragrant chewiness of ground fish paste. Pan Fried Tofu stuffed with Fish Paste, or 煎釀鯔魚滑豆腐, is such a comfort dish and it's super easy to prepare!
The best tofu is the fresh tofu of course. In Hong Kong we are so lucky that we can go to the wet markets and pick up freshly made tofu every day! In the wet markets there are vendors who specialize in tofu products. Find one of these and you can get every tofu product you can think of. If you don't get out to the wet market you can just pick it up at the supermarket. There are so many organic tofu products on the market too. I like the organic stuff, it has a real bean taste that's wonderful. Just make sure to buy the medium firm tofu, also marked as suitable for frying. (Check out our guide of buying Tofu for more info.)
Fish paste, or 魚滑, is pretty much what it sounds like, just a bit of ground up fish mixed with seasonings until creamy. This particular fish paste is a local favorite, the grey mullet fish paste, or 鯔魚滑, which is made from the sweet meat of the grey mullet seasoned with a touch of the fragrant dried tangerine peel. This grey mullet fish is often prepared as a fish paste because, while the fish meat is really fresh and sweet, there are a heck of a lot of bones so it is a difficult fish to eat whole. When you grind up the fish meat however, the bones get ground up as well and you can enjoy the sea sweet taste of the grey mullet without having to pick through a lot of bones.
You can buy fish paste at your wet market where either the tofu vendor or your fresh seafood vendor will carry it. Otherwise look for it at your local asian grocer.
You will have to smear the fish paste on to the tofu. Be gentle here! The fish paste is sticky enough to adhere to the tofu by itself, but if you want you can scoop a shallow scoop out of the tofu before smearing the fish paste on. What you don't want is to have the tofu break up under rough handling. I find that using a wet spoon for scooping the fish paste makes it easy to slide the paste off. Once you have the paste on the tofu, flip the spoon over and use it to smooth out the paste.
The final trick to cooking the Pan Fried Tofu Stuffed with Fish Paste is to make sure to let it cook on each side until golden brown. Yummilicious! Hope you enjoy this homey little dish as much as we do!
Pan Fried Tofu Stuffed with Fish Paste Recipe 煎釀鯔魚滑豆腐
2 cubes medium firm tofu
300 g fish paste
1 1/2 tbsp oil
2 stalks spring onions, sliced to rounds
2 tbsp premium soy sauce (for dipping)
Slice tofu into 1/2" thick slices. Scoop out a shallow spoonful of tofu from the center of each tofu slice. Or not, sometimes if in a hurry I don't scoop.
Gently smear 2-3 tbsp of the fish paste onto the tofu slices with a spoon. Heat your cast iron pan (or non-stick pan) til hot, add 1 tbsp oil. Use spatula to lift each stuffed tofu slice and gently slide into the pan. Lower heat to medium and fry for around 3 mins or until the tofu is a golden brown. Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil, carefully flip over, press down a bit with spatula and fry for another 3 mins or until the fish paste is golden brown. Remove to serving plate, sprinkle with spring onions. Serve with a small bowl of your best soy sauce for dipping.
More Tofulicious Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Tofu with Shrimp 蝦仁豆腐
Chinese Preserved Beancurd 腐乳