Friday, February 10, 2012

Tokwa't Isda (Fish and Tofu in Sweet Vinaigrette)

It’s good to be back. Yes, I’m back from a long …… actually, prolonged hiatus which started during my long Christmas holiday back in the Philippines from late December last year. I had a grand time with my family, relatives and friends. Too many memorable moments that somehow led to an after vacation condition of slightly chronic amnesia that caused me to temporarily forget that I have a blog to maintain. Not cool, yeah!

All I can say is, sorry folks that I was not able to post anything for quite a long time …… well, make that very long time. In fact, it was the longest duration of inactivity in this website …… and I have no intension of repeating such a period in the future.

For a starter, let me share a simple but delightful tofu dish. Obviously this is somewhat a healthy variation of the popular Filipino side dish cum appetizer cum “pulutan” (bites or morsel) called “tokwa’t baboy” – a mixture of fried pork and fried bean curd in a slightly sweet vinegar-soy sauce dressing. While I prepare “tokwa’t baboy” regularly (especially when … okay let me cut that off … the wife wouldn’t like it and besides drinking is not good for our health, lol), I have not featured the dish yet and instead just posted the plain “fried tokwa” version which is prepared basically the same way except that the “baboy” or fried pork part was omitted.

Not really due to diet restrictions or medical condition …… but because we can’t easily find pork jowl here. You read it right, that’s pork jowl or the pig’s cheek that I’m referring to. For me and my male friends here, pork jowl is the best pork cut for the dish … and if you are uninitiated and have problem with that, pork belly or “liempo” is the next best cut which works just fine. :-)

Since the day I wittingly substituted fried pork with fried tuna and added some crunchy cucumber, the new concoction which is the subject of this post instantly became our group’s favorite tofu dish. I have already posted a photo of the dish in the Facebook fan page of this humble blog which received favorable comments and thus the recipe, a very simple one, is provided herewith for those who are requesting for it, for “pulutan” purposes I suppose. :-)

As a backgrounder, “tokwa” is the Philippine term for tofu, especially the firm type. A soft white cheese-like food made from soybeans and produced by curdling soya milk with a coagulant or curdling agent. The curds are then pressed to remove much of the liquid and form into a solid block.

Although it is naturally bland tasting and only relying on other ingredients for flavors, tofu has gained worldwide acceptance and popularity due to its rich nutrient contents such as high-quality protein, calcium, B-vitamins, iron and isoflavones, an organic compound said to provide good protection against breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and even menopausal symptoms. In addition, it is low in saturated fat, low in sodium and has no cholesterol. A wonder food of sort, hence a favorite of mine.

For the dish, the main ingredients are one block of firm tofu or “tokwa” about 4 x 6 x 1.5 inches in size and a large slice of really fresh yellow fin tuna, about 300 grams. The tuna you see in the image below is of course more than 600 grams but we will only use about half of it for the dish. The rest you will see the usage later. :-)

Cut the tofu in about ½ to ¾ inch thick slices and chopped the tuna into cubes. I did not really bother removing the bones but can be discarded if you wish.

You will notice that I only used the outside part (including skin) and dark meat section of the tuna for the dish. The center/prime section was cut into small rectangular fillets and set aside …… inside the fridge. :)

The other ingredients needed are 1 pc cucumber, peeled, soft core with seeds removed and then cubed, about 3/4 cup of white vinegar, about 2 tbsp soy sauce, about 4-5 tbsp of sugar (white or brown is okay), 1 small onion finely minced and about 2 tbsp of finely minced celery.

Additionally, we need a pinch of salt for seasoning the fish and about ¾ cup vegetable oil for frying tofu and fish pieces.

In a small sauce pan, combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and let it boil on low heat. Upon boiling, stir thoroughly and continue on low simmer until sugar is fully dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Taste and adjust the sugar or soy sauce to attain the right combination of sweet, sour and salty taste which you prefer. This sauce will rule the final taste of the dish therefore it is important that it is according to your taste. Set aside.

In a medium pan, fry the tofu slices until golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside. Drain in paper towel to remove excess oil.

In the same pan, fry the tuna pieces until cooked through. Drain in paper towel as well.

Cut the fried tofu into bite sizes. A quick sudden chop of a sharp knife is all you need to manage the crispy edges of the fried tofu. Combine the chopped tofu, fried tuna and cucumber in a large bowl.

Sprinkle with minced onion and celery on top. Pour the sauce (you might not need it all, reserve the excess sauce for some other time) and lightly mix to combine properly. Serve immediately, as side dish, viand or appetizer is up to you.

If you are wondering what we did with the gorgeous tuna fillets we kept in the fridge earlier? Here is how it was served along with the “tokwa’t isda” above.

Sadly, we don’t have “beer’ so we ate everything over a bottle of soda, lol … :-)

This is your tasty alternative to “tokwa’t baboy”. Easy but yummy! Enjoy! c“,)



Related Posts with Thumbnails