Sunday 24 March 2013

Prawn Tofu 豆腐虾

Water Tofu is best but the splattering is havoc in the kitchen!

Tofu is a very popular item in the Chinese menu as we believe they are rich in proteins. I am not making any claims but do read the article below and Google more on this tasteless food item the Asians are crazy about.

An online article by American Cancer Society (click on link to read further):

What is the evidence?Some researchers believe that the isoflavones in soy, such as genistein, daidzein, and glycitein, may play a role in reducing cancer risk. A number of laboratory and animal experiments and human observational studies suggest that soy may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancer. These results have not yet been reflected in human clinical trials, so no definite conclusions can be made.

Scientists believe there is enough evidence for phytoestrogens to be studied in clinical trials along with standard medical care for breast or prostate cancer. Human studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute are under way. Large studies that looked at groups of women with high soy-based food intakes showed a lower risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer, but there are many possible explanations other than the soy. Studies that control for these factors are needed. It is also possible that the weak estrogen-like effect of soy might be helpful in prostate cancer prevention, but again, large human studies are needed.

Some studies have suggested that the effect of soy foods on breast cancer risk depends on the age when they are consumed. It is thought that high soy intake by young women at a time when breast tissue is developing and estrogen levels are relatively high may offer some protection. However, it is unclear whether soy intake after menopause, when estrogen levels are naturally low, is of any benefit or could even be harmful.

Several clinical studies of women with breast cancer have been done to learn whether soy capsules can help with symptoms of menopause. The results have not shown any consistent improvement of symptoms such as hot flashes.

Several studies of men with prostate cancer have suggested that soy foods and/or supplements may reduce levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance that typically increases as prostate cancer grows. In another study, while PSA levels did not decrease during soy treatment, they increased less rapidly than they had before the study began. Although these results are encouraging, further research is needed to learn whether soy products help men with prostate cancer to live longer.
Soybeans and soy foods have been shown in clinical trials to lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.
Some variety of processed Tofu and styles of preparation.
Photo credit: Google Images.
The infamous Stinky Tofu - 九所臭豆腐.
Photo credit: Google Images.
Tofu comes in many forms and shapes. There are soft, silken, firm, pressed, plain, egg, spiced, sweetened, fermented, tubular, round, squares and oblong shapes. You can stir-fry, shallow fry, panfry, deep-fry, sautee, braise, stew, simmer, steam, grill, broil, torch or eat tofu from the package after a quick rinse. Tofu has no taste on its own and relies heavily on the accompanying sauce. A simple food like this often put to tests the skill of many a top chef. Master chefs become artists, creating texture and taste with this very versatile food!
Enough said, let’s get cooking!

Recipe (serves 4 with other dishes)
8 medium-big sized Prawns (Grey, Green, Banana or Tiger prawns have firm and succulent texture).
Prawn Prep – overnight (this prep makes the prawn very crunchy in texture. You can do this for up to 500g of prawns and freeze them until needed):
Shell and devein prawns.
In a large bowl of icy cold water (add some ice cubes to it too), add 1¼ tablespoon baking soda into it.
Add prawns and massage them in the water for a few minutes.
Set aside for 30 minutes with the prawns fully submerged in the water.
Rinse well under running tap.
Pat dry with paper towel.
Marinate prawns with the 2 teaspoons tapioca starch and 1 egg white.
Massage prawns again for a couple of minutes.
Clingwrap marinated prawns and refrigerate overnight or at least 8-12 hours in advance.
Rinse prawns before use.

4 Water Tofu (水豆腐 or any soft tofu will do).
I used to buy “water tofu” from the wet market. They are roughly the size of a baseball and are soak in a pail of water at the vendors to keep the tofu plump. If you can’t get this then 1-2 boxes of silken tofu cut each box into 4-6 pieces each box. They may look big but they shrink quite a bit after frying.
1 Garlic, minced.
1 slice Old Ginger, cut into julienne strips.
200ml Water or Chicken Stock.
1 Egg, beaten.
1 stalk Scallion, sectioned.
1 stalk Cilantro, chopped.
1 tablespoon Fried Shallots.
1 tablespoon Lard, optional.
Enough Oil to deep-fry the whole water tofu or tofu squares.

1½ tablespoons Oyster Sauce.
1½ teaspoon Hua Tiao Chiew, drizzle on the side of hot wok.
1 teaspoon Sugar.
A few dashes White Pepper Powder.
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil.
Salt or Light Soy, to taste (final adjustment).

Thickening Solution:
1½ tablespoons Tapioca or Corn Starch.
50ml Water.
Mix together in a small bowl.

Method (day of cooking):
Heat up enough oil and when hot, deep-fry the tofu till skin forms and is golden brown as seen in the 1st picture above. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Pour away the excess oil, leaving about one teaspoon of oil in the wok or pan.
Stir-fry the garlic and ginger till fragrant.
Add water or stock  into the wok. Bring to the boil.
When boiling hard, add prawns, fried tofu and seasonings.
Let boil till prawns turn pink and curl.
Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt or light soy.
Lower heat to medium and add the tapioca starch solution and stir well to prevent clumping.
Beat egg well and pour it from high in a thin stream into the wok.
Give a few quick stir to create egg ribbons.
Turn off heat when the dish thickened as seen on first picture above and throw in the sectioned scallions.
Stir once and ladle onto a plate.
Drizzle with lard is using or a few drops of sesame oil.
Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with steamed Jasmine rice.

Crispy Pork Lard.
Happy cooking :)

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