Growing up in a health-conscious Chinese family, any form of steamed tofu is always welcomed on the dinner table, and this included the silken tofu with dried shrimps and onion.
A smooth and silky block of white tofu takes centre stage, while sautéed shallots and dried shrimps are drizzled from the top to let it flow beautifully down the bean curd. Pleasing to the eyes and the tummy, this dish is, in fact rather easy to put together.
What is Tofu with Dried Shrimps and Onion?
Mild and unassuming, this Chinese dish is perhaps most suitable for those with lighter palates. Steamed silken tofu itself carries a subtle flavour, which is why when paired or marinated with toppings, every mouthful becomes a sweet balance of bland and salty.
Dried shrimps, especially, are ideal for that added kick of saltiness. Coupled with shallots, the two bring together sweet and salty flavours to the tasteless tofu.
Not to mention, this specific dish is texture heaven. Tofu’s softness is complemented by the crunch in the onions and dried shrimps. Oyster sauce is usually used for the final drizzle, and it provides just the right moisture level to keep the dish from being too dry.
History of Tofu
Tofu, ironically, unlike its taste, comes with an incredibly rich history. Believed to have been in consumption since ancient Chinese times, there are many legends and stories as to how tofu came about. Some say a Han Dynasty prince discovered it, and others believe the Chinese picked up the food from Mongolians or East Indians.
While there is still no conclusive evidence as to which origin story is accurate, we do know that tofu has always been closely associated with the deceased, with relatives using tofu as food offerings when they visit the graves of their loved ones. The practice was common as most believed that tofu was the only food soft enough for the spirits to consume in the afterlife.
Thanks to migration, tofu first arrived on Malaysian shores through the Fujian people. After realising how versatile the ingredient is, we began putting our spin on the bland white block.
Variations of Tofu with Dried Shrimps and Onion
In the Chinese Malaysian community, there are many ways to innovate on the tofu dish. For starters, instead of dried shrimps and onion, some restaurants prefer to use preserved turnip – otherwise known as chai po – as toppings instead, perhaps to cater to our vegetarian and vegan friends.
Health Benefits of Tofu with Dried Shrimps and Onion
Nutritionally, tofu is low in calories, and a serving of tofu with dried shrimps and onion will roughly rack up 110 calories, which is still considerably low compared to fried tofu dishes.
Especially prevalent among vegetarians, tofu is useful in supplying large amounts of protein, iron, magnesium and calcium – all minerals that are usually deficient in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Tofu is also cholesterol-free, which is a plus point for those at risk of heart diseases. With tofu being a soy food, there is also research pointing to the fact that it can alleviate symptoms of menopause because of how soy isoflavones mimic natural human estrogens.
Of course, to maintain health benefits of this dish, it is advisable to control the portion sizes of the dried shrimp topping as it ranks high on sodium levels. Too much of it could potentially defeat the purpose of consuming this low-calorie dish!
Where to Find Tofu with Dried Shrimps and Onion in Malaysia
The all-versatile bean curd dish has long been a staple in Chinese cuisine, which is why you’ll find it in most Chinese restaurants. Visit foodpanda to order more of your favourite tofu dishes.