Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kwong Sai (GuangXi) Stuffed Tofu 广西酿豆腐 - Heritage Week # 2

My mother's parents came from GuangXi, China. If you've heard of the beautiful mountains of GuiLin, that is located in GuangXi. But my maternal grandparents are not from GuiLin, but from Rongxian 容县, which is located in the South of Guangxi. So that makes me half Cantonese half Guangxi. Can I speak the Guangxi dialect? My mom refused to teach us, saying that this dialect is of no use here. No one speaks it, so there's no need to learn. My mom speaks Guangxi, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Hokkien. But her kids can only speak Cantonese. Pathetic.... I may not know how to speak the dialect, but once I hear someone saying "Ngo Eew Lei " (I'm calling you) I know that person is of Kwong Sai origin as they speak "call" as "Eew", unlike Cantonese it's  "gew", or Hokkien is "giu", or Hakka it's "gew" as well. KwongSais will 'Eew" you.

When the KwongSai Chinese came to the then Federation of Malay States, they settled in areas where there are mines and rubber estates, doing 'dirty jobs' that is not done by the other dialects (Hokkien-businesses like  grocery shops, Hainanese-food, Hakka and Cantonese -Mining, Teochew-rice and liquor) Most of those in Perak settled along Perak river, mostly from mid Perak up to the north. Towns like Lenggong, Manong, and Kuala Kangsar and all small villages nearby these towns is where you find the most KwongSai Chinese. Other places with lots of Kwong Sais are in Pahang-- Bentong and Mentakab. If anyone that knows the whereabout of other Kwong Sais, please tell me. I'd love to know.There is one facial trait among the KwongSai, and that is the forehead 广西额头 which is typically wide and flat, with a high hairline. My friends who are KwongSais especially the men, they do possess this typical forehead (I won't say all, but just those that I happen to know). Even my mom has it, so does my brother.

I'm sure most would have heard of Hakka Yongtofu. What about KwongSai Yongtofu?

I remember eating this dish once at my maternal grandpa's and I can recall how much I hated it. Even when I was a kid, I do eat chinese chives. But this stuffed tofu sort of puts me off due to the smell. But when I had this again few years ago in KK, which has a lot of Kwong Sai people, I fell in love with it. It shows, I've matured, LOL.

Put water into the steamer and into the dish. If not the tofu will be dry

During mom's stay with me when Mike went to KL for a trade fair over the weekend., I took this opportunity to prepare this for my dearie mom the same day I did Puppy Duck. She told me, it's a special delicacy prepared only during special occasions like ancestral memorial days (生忌死忌), Chinese New Year, mid-autumn festival , so on and so forth. Grandma will make a lot, a whole big pot of it and everybody will be feasting on them. It was the only type of stuffed tofu my mom knew until much later. Mom said, grandma will stack the tofu in a pot, put some water into the pot, and "steam-boil" the stuffed tofu. The tofus are actually sitting in the steaming liquid. When the tofu's filling surface are set, then more water is added in to simmer the tofu and this creates a broth that is super delicious with rice.

Because I didn't make as many as grandma did, say... not even 10% of it,  (LOL, yes, she made more than 100 each time to feed more than 12 mouths), I only steamed them instead of "steam-boiling" them. Adding water into the dish while steaming created a very moist tofu and it was delicious. The water was almost all absorbed by the tofu.

When the tofus came out from the steamer, I took one and ate. I asked mom to quickly come and eat while it's still hot. Mom took one, sank her teeth in...............her eyes closed............ half smiling half laughing...."Oh so delicious!!!" Trying hard to withhold all the juices as they were half dripping from her mouth.
Nothing beats the smile on my mother's face on that moment. My heart was totally warm and fuzzy to see her enjoying it. She told me, it's been so long since she's eaten this, and she kept on talking about how her mom made this and all the stories related to this tofu. That is 100% satisfaction for me to see the joy on my mother's face.

With this successful try out, I made double batch of this for my mom to bring home. My pure Cantonese sister in laws also enjoyed this stuffed tofu and it's a first for them to taste this.

So, here's one of my mother's favourite, Kwong Sai Stuffed Tofu
Whatever changes you want to make to this recipe, never change the tofu puffs, pork and chives as ingredients.
It's what makes it Kwong Sai style.

KwongSai (Guangxi) Stuffed Tofu
Recipe source: Wendyywy's mother

100gm minced pork (20% fat)
50gm fish paste (if use fish flesh, add *)
50gm Chinese chives, chopped
¼ tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
7 pieces of tofu puff (more of less depending on the size of your tofu puff) or called locally as 'taufupok"

*If using fish flesh instead of paste, add in additional 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, ½ tsp cornstarch, 25ml water. Recipe for fish paste  here . Use the paste raw in this recipe.

1. Mix all the ingredients together except tofu puff to form a pasty filling.
2. Cut a hole in tofu puff, and stuff the cuttings back into the tofu puff.
3. Fill the tofupok with fillings until full.
4. Arrange stuffed tofu on steaming dish (must be deep) and fill the dish with boiling water (half way up the tofu)
5. Steam on high heat for 20 minutes.

Or you can fill it up this way, with a slit

I made these the next day for my mom to bring home

And see Lyanne.... the 1/4 Kwong Sai girl,
I'm half, so, she's 1/4, see....

I'm submitting this to Edith's Heritage Food Trail event


  1. Not only is your mom smiling, I am too. Reminding food that associated to our heritage roots, bringing back fond memories when we were young. priceless!

  2. This dish look absolutely delicious!! I love the look of the yellow tofu puffs with the green speckles on top. Thanks for telling and showing us your Heritage roots and food. I am still cracking my head on what to prepare for my Hokkien dish :(

  3. 我也是广西容县人,20多年前曾经回过乡下,但是我老家是在容县古全村。
    顺便说,我来自马来西亚最大的广西村,guess where?

  4. Now I know what else I can do with tofu puffs :) Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.

  5. Good food shouldn't just be gone... should pass over to the new generation too. This is an easy dish and yet delicious and healthy too. Thanks Wendy!

  6. recently read a few heritage stories from you, it is a good sharing, wendy. i did earn some knowledge...:)
    this stuffed tofu looks healthy and not difficult to operate...i will bookmark this and try out some day...

  7. These are so delicious! I have made similar taufupok with fish paste, but never with chives. Thanks for sharing this, shall try this out with chives the next time.

  8. edith,
    My mom was all nostalgic when she ate these, but not me. LOL.

    I'm sure you can come up with one. There are so many Hokkien dishes, but I think you want to come up with something not within the norm, like Tau Yu Bak is so well known, better cook something else, right? LOL.

    Aiyor, Bentong ah?
    Yeah, mostly will do it with a slit, but my grandma likes the filling to look more pronounced, therefore she filled it this way.
    I never knew my maternal grands were from Rongxian until last 2 weeks when my mom told me.

    tofupuffs are very versatile, you can do more than just this with it. Hope you like this.

    Ohh.. luckily this dish is not as extinct as Puppy Duck. It's still very prevalent among the Kwong Sai ppl. Just not that well known only.

    Yeah, it's very easy, if you can get fish paste and minced pork, it's just mix, fill and steam.
    I had to mince my own pork, make my own fish paste and that's a heck lot of work.

    The fish paste is just a 'supporting actor'.
    You can skip the fish, but not the pork.
    No pork and chives no Kwong Sai YTF.
    Hope you like this

  9. Wow! This is a first time I am looking at this dish too...looks delicious, you really took the trouble to know about your ancestors huh!

  10. Lyanne has got a new haircut !! SO CUTE!

  11. I once ate this stuffed tofu in my MIL's house. Don't know whether it's Hakka or Kwong Sai style. Looks similar.

    Btw, she's Hakka. :D

  12. *Clap hands*.. I had this dish several times in my food trail at Moon Sing (KL - KIP), Wan Jia (Kepong) and Summer Park (Bukit Tinggi) before and these are so addictive. Absolutely love it!!

    Gosh.. with a recipe now, I can make this!! yay.. thks Wendy.

  13. Jeannie,
    Same goes. I do hope my future generation will know more about me.

    Swee San,
    guess who's the hair stylist?

    Belly good cooking,
    This is 100% Kwong Sai.
    Nowadays Malaysian Chinese cuisine is so jumbled up, I think your MIL would also cook the Oh-so Cantonese Sweet Sour Pork.
    I too see many Cantonese cooking Mui Choy Kaw Yook which is Hakka. As long as its tasty we would learn it up, from friends or neighbours. That's cultural exchange :)
    BTW, hakka Yong tofu definitely has no chives, you can google for it.

    Food Dreams,
    Wow, you really had this so many times. Good for you.
    Try this and hope you like this.
    The commercial versions may have stuff like chopped squids, or peanuts, but this my my grandma's version.

  14. hi, great to learn about a kwongsai dish and interesting steaming method from your grandma! It's true that many hainanese are engaged in food business especially operating coffee shops, there are quite a few here, must be the 3rd/4th generation taking over the business. Funny about the time i see one, must ask him, 'hey, is your kampung kwongsai or kwongtung?'..

  15. Wendy, I learn a lot related to this stuffed tofu from your post, thanks! Not just lovely story but delicious food too, bookmarked this and hope to try it!

  16. Wah, "Chun hai mow yau tak teng!" (No fight) Is that how you say that in Kwong Sai dialect? hehe... Absolutely gorgeous looking stuffed tow pok and I love that there are lots of chives in it! "Low How sui lor!" (Drooling). It is always heart warming when we can put a smile on our love one's face. Better than strike lottery!

  17. lena,
    If you ask me whether I am kwong tung or kwong sai, then I'll answer you, I'm "kwong tung sai 讲东西" (talking something) LOL
    If you ever see a Kwong Sai Yan, look at the forehead, it's different one.

    Ah Tze,
    I guess not many know about the Kwong Sai ppl, which is why I shared.

    Quay Po,
    I truly dunno how it's said in Kwong Sai.
    I only know that "yiu' is call in Kwong Sai.

  18. Its such a lovely idea to stuff the mince pork & fish paste filling in the soft tou pok! I will make this next week! Will try to remember to post on FB for u to see, lol!

  19. It's so interesting to hear about your mum and I must say I've never even known there was a dialect group called guangxi. Yet, somehow my hokkien mum often makes something like this, stuffed with minced pork and fish, but seasoned with soy sauce instead of salt! kind of like yong tau fu, but with stuffed meat too! She'll put this in soup, with some vegetables, yum, so juicy when you bite into them! Yours look delicious too!

  20. Looks so cute...and healthy too

  21. I've eaten this once and I really loved it. Thanks for sharing your mummy's recipe with us

  22. Bee,
    it's the chives that makes this special, actually :)

    Shu Han,
    I believe with creativity, one can just make any type of YTF, but the KwongSai version is with chives.
    Even in Malaysia, the Kwong Sai community is not well spread, they are only found in a few towns, so I'm not surprised you have never heard about them in Spore.


    Cuba la, not only good to see, cute! LOL.

    My mom just 'ngap'(talk) and I do, she has never done this herself. LOL.

  23. Hey Wendy, I just saw your mail...see how updated I am:P Is RSVP compulsory or can I just drop in last minute? I am not sure yet if I am free that evening.

  24. Yeah, I totally agree with u on the cultural exchange point, haha. Will definitely try this out because I love chives!!

  25. Wendy....I am smiling as typing this....what is so different with a Kwong Sai Yan, look at the forehead ??? LOL! Tell me so that I can start looking at people forhead * winky

    BTw this dish is fantastically good. I shall make this for dinner. Thanks for sharing this heritage food from Guangxi :)

  26. awesome!!! I'm going to try this out Wendy! thanks for sharing.

  27. I'll definitely love this! I'm a fan of 九菜角。thanks for sharing! Have bookmarked this recipe.

  28. I know what you mean- nothing quite beats the satisfaction of seeing other people's joy when they like something you make ;) These look just as delicious as they sound!!

    Your mum is pretty cool- most parents would like their children to learn more languages!

  29. Guangxi Yong Tau Foo is definitely new to me. Too used to Hakka Yong Tau Foo. Thanks for sharing such interesting post and story :)

  30. hello! i just tagged you in this fun recap post thing, where you choose your top 7 posts so your readers (including me!) can get the chance to catch up on great posts that we've missed! know you're away, so do this if you want to/when you're back (:

  31. Beautiful blog!
    I love your recipes and presentation of dishes.
    I have added to your followers.
    If you want, come and visit me, you're welcome

  32. so funny to read your comments about the kwong sai forehead, haha... ya, my grandparents lives in Lenggong, and my family include myself and my son all has the similar forehead, i tought it just a family gene...

    btw, the yong taufu is really my favourite, my mum always buy the big taufu puff to make a big yong taufu, 2 is enough for 1 meal, missing it so much. - C.J

  33. C.J,
    No woh.. I see it on almost every Kwong Sai I know. LOL.
    Make some, if you miss it. I'm sure you'll love it.

  34. Hi Wendy. Coincidence my hubby is half kong sai. Mum in law always make this dish but your tofu look so nice and need. Mum in law prefer to overstuff it until mmm.. too full. She also likes using green chili. Always make me wonder how come only tofupok and green chili. No brinjal, ladie's finger, bitterguard etc. Me pure cantonese also like it alot!

  35. Dear Wendy,

    This is a delicious recipe. Like you, I did not like this kwongsai tofu when young but my maternal grandmother was a great home cook and I now wonder why I disliked it. My family's recipe is a little different coz we sear the mince meat side in a hot wok with a little oil and mince garlic for colour and texture, then short braise the stuffed tofu with chicken stock and a dash of oyster sauce. Dipping sauce is similar to Hainanese chicken rice chilli and ginger sauce.

  36. ChopinandMysaucepan,
    It's a home dish, and I believe every family has its variants.
    But searing and then braising sound a bit on the Hakka and Cantonese way of cooking Yongtofu, and we do pick up cooking methods of other families in a multi dialect Chinese community. I've eaten a recent version that sounds like the one you mentioned made by a young man in Kuala Kangsar.

  37. Thank you! Very delicious, it was easy and simple. Your instructions were great! I remember having this growing up. The tofu puffs were kind of hard to find, but I managed to get them in Chinatown. Thank you again!


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