Egg tofu is a special kind of tofu made from soy milk and eggs – the eggs giving it the most wonderful wobbly texture. Think of a just-set savoury custard that’s meltingly ethereal light and silky smooth. Now imagine fat slices of egg tofu combined with pork mince braised in a rich, soy-based sauce. Comfort food at its finest!
The recipe comes from Mandy Yin’s Sambal Shiok cookbook, where it’s shared with a charming vignette about the rustic family-style restaurant in Sarawak in which Yin first tasted this dish – three generations of women cooked and served customers, whilst the youngest member of the family slept in a baby basket to one side.
Read our full review of Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook here.
Although the recipe includes pork mince and oyster sauce, it’s listed in the Vegetarian section of Home-Style Dishes, with suggestions from Yin to sub rehydrated shiitake mushrooms for the pork and mushroom sauce instead of oyster to make a vegetarian version.
Soy-Braised Egg Tofu and Pork Mince
This is another dish from my trip to Sarawak. On both nights of our stay in Kapit, we ate at a very rustic, family-run restaurant at the edge of town. The mother of the family took orders and served tables with the help of her two young daughters. One daughter had mastered the art of roller skating with plates of food and even bowls of soup! Among all the hustle and bustle of the restaurant a baby slept in a baby basket on top of a spare table, safely tucked away from customers while the grandmother busied herself cooking all of our food in the kitchen located right at the back of the building. None of us spoke Iban, the most common local tribal dialect and the mother spoke no English. Thankfully I was able to give her our order in basic Malay! We ordered this wonderfully comforting dish which came with finely sliced wood ear mushrooms. This restaurant also served phenomenal lard-fried thick egg noodles, very similar to the black charred hokkien mee you would find in KL. Simple stir-fried greens, a soup and stirfried butter prawns (shrimp) with egg floss rounded off our meals.
You can make this dish vegetarian by substituting the pork with an equal amount of minced, rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and using mushroom stir-fry sauce instead of oyster sauce.
- Sauce Seasoning
- 1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch), mixed with 2 tsp water to form a slurry
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp white Sarawak peppercorns (if you don’t have these, whole white peppercorns will do), ground finely using a pestle and mortar
- 200 ml scant 1 cup water
- 2 cylinders (290g / 10¼oz) egg tofu
- 100 ml (scant ½ cup) oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 200 g (7oz) minced (ground) pork
- 2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced, to garnish
- Small handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped, to garnish
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce seasoning, in the order they appear, in a small measuring jug.
Cut through the middle of each cylinder of egg tofu with a sharp knife. The egg tofu will slide out easily. Handle with care, as it is very fragile! Cut into rounds with a thickness of 1.5cm (5⁄8in).
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Carefully fill the frying pan with the egg tofu rounds. Fry on both sides until golden (around 5 minutes on each side), using a palette knife to turn halfway through. Remove the egg tofu from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Set aside while you cook the sauce.
In the same frying pan, add the minced garlic and fry over a high heat for 30 seconds. Add the minced pork and fry for a few minutes until the pork has cooked completely.
Add the sauce seasoning, bring to the boil and stir until it achieves the consistency of a light gravy. Turn off the heat and add the fried egg tofu back into the pan, stirring gently to mix through.
Serve immediately, garnished with spring onion and coriander.
We made the pork version (multiple times) and it’s fabulous; wobbly discs of egg tofu have a hint of crispness on the surfaces, but remain soft as silk inside and are so good against the savoury minced pork. Whilst our sauce doesn’t come out as dark as that pictured, it’s so good mixed into white rice.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Sambal Shiok by Mandy Yin from publisher Quadrille. Photography by Louise Hagger.