“This is one of my favourite dishes to share with Sarah. It’s very typical of traditional Chinese home-cooking, with clear flavours and a lovely interplay of textures – cool, silky tofu; crunchy, salty fried whitebait; creamy eggs; and earthy sesame, freshened up with spring onion. Serve with rice as part of a shared meal.” Poh Ling Yeow,
80 ml (⅓ cup) vegetable oil
⅓ cup dried whitebait (see Note)
350 g silken tofu, chilled
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp sesame oil
1 spring onion, finely chopped
steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the eggs in a small saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium–high and boil for 4 minutes, then drain immediately. Fill the saucepan of eggs with cold water and drain several times to quickly cool the eggs.
Heat the oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the whitebait and deep-fry for 1–2 minutes or until it is golden and crisp. Drain in a sieve lined with several layers of paper towel. Set aside to cool.
Place the tofu on a serving plate, cut into 1 cm thick slices, then gently push them down so they lean on each other like dominoes. Peel and slice or tear the eggs into bite-sized pieces and place over and around the tofu. Season evenly with the salt, drizzle with a little sesame oil and top with the fried whitebait. Garnish with the spring onion and serve.
• Ikan bilis (dried whitebait) can be found in the Asian food section of some larger supermarkets and Asian food stores.
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