Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Taiwanese (Japanese?) Style Cold Tofu with Century Egg
Pardon me for the title. I was not sure of the nationality of this dish. Here in Manila, this is known as the Taiwanese style cold tofu. Actually, this dish is only available in Taiwanese-style restaurants. So we have always called this Taiwanese tofu.
Then a Japanese chilled Tofu dish called Hiyayakko came out in the Round-up of Regional Recipes #2 featuring dishes from Japan. It makes sense actually, for this dish to be Japanese. It is very simple and elegant, very easy to prepare, all distinct qualities of a Japanese dish. The ingredients used - the tofu and bonito flakes are also Japanese.
So maybe we should call this Asian Cold Tofu instead. :)
Or perhaps, what made this dish different from the Japanese tofu is the addition of century eggs. True enough, when I googgled for century eggs, Wiki explained that this version of chilled tofu with century eggs is the Taiwanese version of the Japanese one.
Get it? Without the century eggs, the nationality is Japanese. With the century eggs, the nationality is Taiwanese. :)
What a big difference the simple addition of century eggs can make.
Century eggs are preserved eggs, made by wrapping duck or chicken eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice straw straw for several weeks to several months. At least that is what they do traditionally. Nowadays, the traditional method is still being used, but modern production have discovered certain curing methods can be used to imitate the chemical process used to produce century eggs. This can speed up production to as fast as ten days. That's a great improvement - from a hundred years to ten days! Seriously, it does not take a hundred years to produce century eggs, not even when made traditionally. :)
To think that when I was young, I refuse to eat century eggs. There was this persistent rumor that century eggs were made by soaking the eggs in animal dung. And it is easy to believe this rumor, century eggs have a strong odor when opened... not exactly a bad one.
Century eggs are almost always served as appetizer. Even if their color is not exactly appetizing. It can actually be eaten as is, straight from the shell. Well, wash the egg for a while to remove the odor. Or maybe it is just me :) It can also be added to Chinese barbecue dish like barbecue pork and slivers of jellyfish. Yes, the Chinese eat jellyfish. It is quite yummy, too. But that will be for another post. Century eggs is usually added to tofu as in this dish.
This a a very easy to prepare, no-cook, healthy and fuss-free dish. Very nutritious and delicious.
1 block Japanese silk tofu
1 (or 2) century eggs, shelled, sliced
sprinkling of bonito flakes
soy sauce ( I used the thick Kekap manis, but any good quality soy sauce will do)
dash of sesame oil
green onions, chopped
Just arrange all the ingredients on top of the tofu. Serve.
Tofu or Beancurd is touted as the protein of the future. It is definitely Chinese in origin, though Japan, Korea and other countries also produce their own tofu. Here in the Philippines, there are generally 3 kinds of tofu. There is the Japanese soft and silken tofu. There is the Chinese or Asian tofu which is a bit firm. The third is the dried tofu, which is more firm and is often used for frying.
Beancurd is made by coagulating soy bean milk and pressing the curds into blocks. Sometimes, pre-made soy milk can be bought and made into tofu, but more often than not, most tofu producers begin by making their own soy milk, which is produced by soaking, grinding, boiling and straining soybeans. Of course modern processes can speed up the process. Machines are available for making soy bean milk and tofu.
Tofu is low in calories, contains fat and no cholesterol. It is full of good protein making it an ideal food. It has a high amount of Vitamin B and Calcium. It is soft, and easy to digest, making it a good food for kids and elderly. Though, some people are known to be allergic to its components.
Sharing this tofu dish with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, now headed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. This week's host is Chriesi of Almond Corner. To see last week's delicious dishes, please click on the wonderful round-up done by my friend, World Food Day event and BloggerAid chief Ivy of Kopiaste.