I first ate this tofu about 20 years back. It was popular back then.
Nowadays, I don’t see many restaurants serving this anymore.
There was a short period of time when few young men started a “Tai Chau 大炒’ eatery few doors away from my mom's shop. One of the guys was the son of our long term customer, Ah Sor 阿傻 (nickname meaning Silly Man, or Mad Guy), who has become a family friend. One day my mom just casually asked him how to make this crispy tofu, he apologized that he can’t teach her, but he can make her some.
The next day, he passed a huge pan of it to her, and only asked for RM20. With that pan of tofu, he could easily fry them and make more than quadruple. But being in very good terms with my mom, he only charged her buddy price. We consumed this huge pan of tofu in a few days. Thanks, Son of Ah Sor 阿傻仔
Crispy Mashed Tofu
Recipe modified from: Famous Delights by One Publisher (Vol 5)
3 pieces Japanese egg tofu
125gm Mackerel fish paste (鲛鱼肉泥)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp carrot shreds
2 Tbsp finely sliced spring onions and parsley (can use coriander if preferred)
2 waterchestnuts, finely diced
1 slice sandwich ham (30gm), finely diced
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Potato starch
1. Mix everything together with a mixer (or by hand, but I was lazeeeeeee)
2. Line a 7 inch square pan with heat safe plastic wrap.
3. Pour mixture into lined pan.
4. Steam on medium heat for 10 minutes (mine was done in 8 mins, you have to check it yourself. Once the surface is set, then it is done. Over steaming will cause roughness)
5. Let the steamed tofu cool down in the pan.
6. When tofu has totally cooled, lift tofu up from pan and remove from plastic wrap.
7. Cut into cubes or diagonal pieces, whichever way you like.
8. Heat a wok with sufficient oil for frying.
9. Coat tofu pieces with potato starch and deep fry until golden.
10. Drain tofu pieces well and serve with chilli sauce.
*If you do not want to use plastic wrap to line your pan, you can try greasing the pan, but removal will be not be as easy.
Note: Steam the mixture immediately to prevent the veg to release moisture upon contact with the salt. Do not oversteam as over steamed tofu will release water, so does oversteamed custard (eggs). Just steam until it is just set, you will have to check it. Medium heat, remember, not high heat.