The funny thing about tastes is that for things that you absolutely loath as a kid may yet turn out to be one of your favorites as an adult – such is the case for me with bitter gourd, and to be frank, quite a few other items.
So for those of you who dislike durian, petai, asparagus, Guinness, and more, perhaps ya’ll just need more doses of them until you like it!
Anyway, here’s one of the recipes I did with bitter gourd over the course of this Covid-19 season.
Bitter Gourd Tofu and Pork Soup Recipe
1 bitter gourd, cut in chunks
300 gram pork belly, cut into bit size chunks
1 block of soft tofu
1 inch ginger
a handful of salted vege (optional, you can replace with salt to taste)
boil pork belly for a couple minutes and remove from pot, throw away the scummy water
use a bigger pot, boil 4-5 bowls of water with everything except tofu for about an hour or so in low heat
add tofu just before serving
salt (optional) and pepper to taste
Comfort food especially on rainy days, I usually have it with steamed rice and some soya sauce + cili padi as condiment.
I haven’t had any Korean food this Corona lockdown period, so naturally it calls for a home made affair to satisfy the cravings. Since there’s no easy way to install an exhaust fan in the dining room to simulate that Korean BBQ experience, I thought kimchi jiggae (kimchi soup) should make a decent replacement, which it did!
So without further ado, here’s my homemade kimchi soup recipe, if you decide to DIY at home too.
1000 ml soup stock – i used leftover pork bone soup
3-4 bulb garlic
1 inch ginger, sliced
2-300 gram pork belly
1-2 tube Japanese tofu
3-4 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
200 gram kimchi
spring onion & cilantro
heat up soup stock and add garlic and ginger
add pork and boil till pork is soft on low heat (depends on thickness, 20-40 mins)
add gochujang & kimchi, boil for another 10 mins
add spring onion, egg & tofu for the last 3 mins
serve with cilantro on top
Simple, wholesome, and great for rainy day, you can have this soup as is or with a bowl of steamed rice.
Yet another day of cooking at home, and today let’s look at one of my childhood favorites – salted vege soup with tofu and pork slices, one of the simplest traditional Chinese soup to prepare, and yet wholesome and fit for those rainy days.
salted vege (I used pickled mustard green, you can use others too)
soak salted vege for 30 minutes in water, remove after
boil salted vege, tomato, and pork slices in low heat for at least 30 minutes
add tofu in the last minute or two
season with salt (if it’s still not salty enough) and pepper
Now isn’t that simple?
For more of my kitchen creations, check out my recipes here.
For the fan of stinky tofu, there are a couple of stalls offering this dish in one of the bigger pasar malam in Klang Valley – at SS2 every Monday evenings. Let’s look at the stall by the name of Hong Cha, or “red tea” stinky tofu.
Hong Cha stinky tofu at SS2 Pasar Malam
Usually situated closer to SS2 McDonald’s, this stall offers a single type of stinky tofu for RM 10 that comes in a paper container. The triangle cut tofu comes with a side of pickled radish, sauerkraut, and some dipping sauce.
The single portion came with about two full piece of tofu cut into 8, portion wise it really isn’t a lot, and you could also argue that the asking price of RM 10 is rather high for what is offered. As for taste, I thought it lacked the tell-tale pungent smell that should be a mandatory characteristic of any stinky tofu, perhaps trying to cater to local taste a bit too much.
Additionally, the sauerkraut, or “almost kimchi” on the side was a bit weak too.
comes in paper box, but not stinky enough tho!
If you’re a huge fan of tofu or if this is the first time you’re introduced to stinky tofu, Hong Cha maybe a good point to start. For the true stinky tofu fan though, you will probably be disappointed.
Address: SS2 Pasar Malam Jalan SS2/61 Petaling Jaya 47300 Selangor GPS: 3.117366, 101.621668 Hours: Every Monday Night
Stinky tofu (臭豆腐) is one of those delicacy that probably make certain Westerners think we are savages from the 3rd world, but truth is, these stuff are just as sophisticated as blue cheese, beer, and that Scandinavian fish that’s berried in the ground before consumption (OK maybe not that one)
stinky tofu stall at Pasar Malam Meru
In any case, most of these food shares a similar crucial step in their preparation – the magical process of fermentation. Through this method, bacteria releases certain type of byproducts that gives birth to the unique smell and taste which some of us learn to appreciate.
For those who lives at Klang or Shah Alam, perhaps one of the closest place to sample a good dish of stinky tofu would be at the Thursday night pasar malam at Meru, located just across the road from Klang Parade.
the stinkier the better, right?
The stinky tofu truck is almost always with a queue so you do have to be slightly patient to wait before your portion of piping hot deep fried stinky tofu is served. The taste of the tofu is really pungent and mixes well with those sourish pickled cabbage.
freshly fried, super stinky, yummy!
So if you’re a fan of stinky tofu, this is one to check out, besides, this very same pasar malam also has a pretty decent spread of other hawker delights – including salted chicken, popiah, lok lok, and char kuih teow.
Address: Pasar Malam Meru Jalan Kedah (Off Jalan Meru) Meru, Klang GPS: 3.065763, 101.450976 Hours: Thursdays 5 to 9pm