Stuffed Tau Pok with Rojak Sauce

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Working out the recipe for Chinese rojak didn't seem like work since it didn't involve any cooking. In fact, stirring and tasting was my kind of entertainment.

Once I figured out how it was done, I wolfed down a huge bowl of fruits and vegetables. That was my '5 a day' as per doctor's orders, in one shot.

I then made a bucketload of the sauce, and kept some chopped up fruits and veggies in the fridge. When I felt like having rojak, all it took was 30 seconds. Rojak had never been so good and quick.

The readymade supply didn't last long and soon, I had to whip up another batch. This time, oh boy, it seemed like a lot of work!

Making the tamarind water was a real pain 'cause it was too thick for the strainer, so I had to pick out the seeds one by one . . . by one . . . . I counted up to 127, then started chanting, "Om . . . ."

Meanwhile, the peanuts were roasting away. I had to stir them a couple of times so that they browned evenly. And then I had to rub off all the skins. And then I had to toss 'em high in the air outside the window so that the wind blew the skins away. Luckily, the wind direction was cooperative and nothing flew into the house. A round of vacuuming would have made me go "Aaaaargh!" "Om . . . ." again.

Finally, I had to get down to the chopping, slicing, measuring, dragging out the mini chopper to give the peanuts a whirl . . . .

I knew exactly what I had to do, so it was rather boring. I need something new!

Since I was, ahem, a veteran rojak maker (with a grand total of two weeks' experience), making a sauce for stuffed tau pok seemed like the natural progression. I made basically the same sauce as for Chinese rojak but added lime juice, kecap manis, and a thin instead of thick tamarind juice. I also added some palm sugar, which made the sweetness more nuanced. Mmmmm . . . . It was nice. Eaten with tau pok stuffed full of cucumber and blanched bean sprouts, the combination was surprisingly different from Chinese rojak. It was lighter and tasted of veggies, in a good way.

I think I'm done with rojak anything for a while. There's rojak flowing outta my ears!

(Recipe for 4 persons)
Sauce – makes about 1½ cups
60 g palm sugar (4 tbsp), mince and steamed till dissolved
2 tbsp sugar
60 g tamarind (4 tbsp; Orchid brand), mix with 90 ml hot water, drain and discard seeds
1½ tbsp chilli powder, or to taste
90 g fermented prawn paste (Two Boys brand)
1½ tbsp rojak flower (aka torch ginger bud)
½ cup peanuts (80 g), toast, rub off skin, and chop/pound roughly
juice and finely minced peel of 1 calamansi lime
2 tbsp kecap manis (ABC brand)

8 pieces tau pok (豆卜, beancurd puffs)
100 g bean sprouts, blanch briefly, drain, and dry with paper towels
100 g cucumber, cut matchstick size, and dry with paper towels
2 pairs you zha kueh (aka Chinese crullers, 油条), separate each pair into two pieces

The sauce is similar to the one for Chinese rojak but it's less thick since it's a dip. And it's got a more rounded sweetness from palm sugar, kecap manis and lime juice. Besides you zha kueh and stuffed tau pok, it's also a great dip for tart fruits like green mangoes.

Mix all ingredients for sauce. Taste and adjust if necessary. Set aside.

Mix cucumber and bean sprouts. Slit one side of beancurd puff in the middle to make a pocket. Stuff with bean sprouts and cucumber.

Place tau pok on a rack if not grilling immediately so that excess water from the bean sprouts and cucumber drains away. Stuffed tau pok should be eaten the day they're made while the veggies are still crisp.

Grill tau pok and dough fritters till crisp. Cut tau pok into 2 or 4 pieces, and you zha kueh into 5. Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

Why not make some Chinese rojak as well? Click here for the recipe.


Blur Ting said...

Yes, extracting tamarind juice is quite a pain. I strained the gunk through the plastic strainer and used a spoon to scrape the goo off from below. There must be an easier way to do this!

KT said...

Next time, I'll try digging out the seeds before adding water. Food manufacturers can extract the last 0.1 g of meat from animal carcasses, but they (purposely) leave the seeds in assam. It figures!

Anonymous said...

Hi, may I know where to get fermented prawn paste (Two Boys brand)in Singapore? thanks...


KT said...

Hi Mary

Two Boys is available at Kwong Cheong Thye (Geylang, Lorong 27, just next to the Aljunied MRT). Other than that, you'd have to look for it at minimarts or market stalls that sell Chinese groceries. You can call the distributor at 64568450. They'll tell you whether it's available in your neighborhood.

Bopha27 said...

Do you knpw how to do "you zha kueh"?

KT said...

Sorry, Bopha27, no.

Genevieve Ngui said...

KT is prawn paste aka hei koh????

KT said...

Yes, Genevieve.

Genevieve Ngui said...

btw you don't have to suffer with the tamarind seeds.Adabi brand sells seedless tamarind paste.been using it for a few years now:) check it out KT:)

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