Miaoli’s Hakka people typically refer to fermented tofu as “tofu syrup.” Just like pickled vegetables, dried leafy mustards, dried radish, and pickled cucumbers, Hakka people, who are thrifty and resourceful by nature, keep tofu from rotting by making it fermented, turning it into an important seasoning that is rich in nutrition and easy to store.
Fermented tofu is made by cutting tofu into one inch cubes, adding salt, boiled and partially dried soybean, and letting it go through a natural fermentation and ripening process. After putting it in an earthen or other type of jar, it’s allowed to undergo a fermentation processing, which converts the protein of tofu into amino acid, and the soybean flavor of tofu into a sweet taste. In addition, different recipes produce fermented tofu with different flavors, such as red yeast rice wine slag, salted fermented beans, sesame oil, sesame oil or pepper, etc. They can all be added to the pickling jar, but the brewing time is at least 3 to 4 months in order for the tofu to be full of flavor, delicious and sweet.
Guo Jiang Yu-ying, the founder of a well-known fermented tofu factory, pointed out that the best time to eat fermented tofu is 4 months to 18 months from the date of manufacture. The taste of the tofu after 18 months to 24 months is slightly salty. In addition to direct consumption, fermented tofu can be smeared on buns and toast and can be used in many wonderful ways, such as mixing it with spinach, using it to make curd meat, flavoring steamed fish with it, and stir-frying bamboo shoots with it. It is an indispensable seasoning that every household should have.
Vegetarian dish flavored with fermented tofu
300 grams of monkey mushroom, 120 grams of pumpkin, 40 grams of dried mustard leaves, 1,120 grams of carrot, 30 grams of purple yam, 250 grams of broccoli, 50 grams of yellow and red pepper, 350 grams of button mushroom, 100 grams of sugar cane shoots, 50 grams of red wine lees, 20 grams of fermented tofu, 500 ml of chicken broth, 20 grams of white granulated sugar, 1.25 grams of pepper and 20 grams of ginger.
- Slice the monkey mushrooms. Slice and carve the pumpkin and carrot into flower-shaped designs. Mince the dried mustard leaves and boil it for a short time. Sautée the ginger.
- Put the monkey slices, carrot and pumpkin slices and stir-fried ingredients on a plate in this order and steam it for 30 minutes.
- Season with red wine lees and fermented tofu, and top it with sauce.