While browsing the photos of recipes I have yet to blogged, I saw this meatballs recipe and realised that it fulfills the Little Thumbs Up theme this month - soy (which includes tofu!)
Tofu is a food that I really love - there's silken tofu that is like a blank canvas, ready to go with all kinds of sauces and provides this really silky, soft and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The firm tofu is also great when stir-fried with garlic, pork and soy sauce. There's also the egg tofu that comes in cylindrical tubes - my mom will deep fry them first before stir-frying them with pork and other vegetables.
This meatballs recipes is adapted from a Chinese recipe app that I've downloaded on my phone. Most meatballs I've had are made with a combination of pork, beef or chicken. I've never thought that tofu can be used as well! The recipe uses firm tofu and recommended mashing over a cheesecloth then squeezing out the excess water - as I don't have a cheesecloth, I mashed it, in batches, over coffee filters, and that's not a very good idea! The coffee filters kept breaking because of the moisture and I had to keep replace with new coffee filters. So I guess it's time to add cheesecloth into my shopping list ;)
The squeezing of the tofu should be the hardest and most time-consuming. The rest is just mix, fry then make the sauce. The sauce is a simple Asian concoction made using sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce (both light and dark), black vinegar and wine. It is then thickened with a little corn starch dissolved in water. Black vinegar and wine can be omitted if you don't have them on hand, but double the rest of the ingredients so you have enough sauce to coat the meatballs.
The seasonings used
The resulting meatballs? The tofu lent a tender bite and made the meatballs a lot lighter than other 100%-meat meatballs I've ever eaten. I can keep eating them without feeling as guilty! After all tofu is an excellent source of protein and is low in fat! The sauce is also very addictive as X and I are both black vinegar lovers. We mopped up all the sauce till the end ;)
Here are the step-by-step photos for the recipe!
1) Mash the firm tofu.
2) Combine with other meatball ingredients.
3) Roll into small mounds.
4) Fry them well!
5) Drain on kitchen towel - nice and golden!
6) Make the sauce!
7) Thicken it eventually...
8) Add the meatballs to coat.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve!
I'm going to submit this to Little Thumbs Up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. This month's theme is Soy - hosted by Mich from Piece of Cake. The recipes are all linked at this post!
Tofu-Pork Meatballs with Sticky Sauce (makes about 40 meatballs)
get the printable recipe HERE!
adapted from Wenyi's Kitchen (mobile app in Chinese)
Cooking Note: Use a small pot and fry the meatballs in batches so you will use less oil. I go light on the seasoning for the meatballs as ultimately they will be coated with the sticky sauce. You can play around with the ratio of tofu to pork and can even substitute pork with other types of meat.
300 grams firm tofu
300 grams ground pork
1/2 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons corn starch
Dash of white pepper
Oil for frying
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons black vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Chinese wine
8 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn starch
Toasted sesame seeds
Meatballs: Break the firm tofu into pieces and place on a cheesecloth. Mash the tofu with a fork then squeeze out the excess water. Transfer into a large, clean bowl.
Add in the pork, egg, grated ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, corn starch and white pepper and mix together well. Form into meatballs and set aside.
Heat a small pot with oil (1/2 to 1-inch in height) over medium heat until hot. Fry the meatballs until cooked thoroughly and golden-brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
Sauce: Heat a new, clean frying pan over medium heat. Add in sugar, sesame oil, light and dark soy sauces, black vinegar, Chinese wine and 6 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Dissolve the corn starch in the remaining 2 tablespoons water. While the sauce is simmering, add in 1/2 the corn starch mixture, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Add in more corn starch mixture to get the consistency desired.
Assembly: Add the meatballs into the sauce and toss until they are evenly coated. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve.