Hakka Tofu (客家豆腐)

25Feb09

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When I was little, people used to ask me if ate “Chinese Food” at home. I’d recall the radioactive neon orange chicken from the local Chinese food joint and cringe slightly. No, definitely not. I didn’t know what I ate at home, but it wasn’t Chinese.

But then I realized that I was wrong. There are thousands of different types of food, and among Chinese food, there are specific groups and ethnic styles. Even my mother didn’t realize this until I came back from Taiwan a couple of years ago with a book on Hakka Cuisine and Recipes. Flipping through the book, she exclaimed, “Look, my mother, your grandmother, used to cook this dish! And this one! And, ooh, I love eating this~!”

Turns out, she’d been cooking Hakka dishes for our family all these years.

What is Hakka (客家)? My family is Taiwanese Hakka. There is a large population of them spread around the world. Literally translated to “guest families” or “guest people,” we were, as a people, constantly being displaced in our history. Whenever we arrived in a new area, there would already be people settled there, and we, the “guests” or newcomers, were shoved off to the poorer lands (the more mountainous, harder to farm areas). Because of the displacement, there is no ultimate consensus to where we originated. Not that it really matters in the end, I suppose.

My family in particular has been in Taiwan for the past 300 years. I consider myself Taiwanese, but Taiwanese Hakka are an entirely different culture from what people think are Taiwanese (also known as Hoklo or Minnan). We have a different language (similar to Cantonese), different historical background, and… as I found out, a slightly different cuisine!

Anyway, enough of the history lesson. Time for the food! Here’s a recipe that my mother often makes for me, but I also found it in the Hakka cookbook. Interesting, isn’t it?

Also, this recipe is extremely easy to make, so I’ve included it in the Simple College Cooking page as well. Enjoy!

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Hakka Tofu (客家豆腐)

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1″ pieces

Directions

  1. Cut the tofu into large pieces.
  2. Heat a frying pan and add the vegetable oil.
  3. Fry the tofu until it’s brown on all sides (approximately 3-4 minutes per side).
  4. When the tofu is browned, add the soy sauce and scallions.
  5. Plate and enjoy!
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5 Responses to “Hakka Tofu (客家豆腐)”

  1. 1 iheartfilm

    Great colors.

    Chris

  2. Hey I’ve had something similar before a Taiwanese family friend (R.I.P.) taught my mother to make something that reminded me of this, he use to brown the tofu in big chunks, then sautee garlic, minced scallions until fragrant then season with soy sauce and drizzle with black sesame seed oil. It’s so good I suggest it 🙂

  3. Oh wow. Lovely tofu dish and I’ll be looking forward to more of your Hakka recipes.


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