As a kid, I learned this dish by watching my parents make it year after year. The first time I actually made this on my own was decades later when I already have my own family and kid. It was painstaking work scrapping flesh off the ribbon fish, mince the meat with a cleaver and then blending salted fish, meat and fish with the old fashion cast iron meat grinder clamped over the dining/work table.
Like a good modern person, I did all these things myself with ready made fish past from Chinatown and minced meat from any supermarket. I ditched the controversial salted fish and added water chestnut for crunch. It was so convenient, I only made it 3 hours ahead of the dinner. If there is one thing that was time consuming, it would be deseeding the chilli instead.
I have no special ratios here. I like more crunch in the meat filling, so I mix the meat with water chestnuts that are bashed into coarse bits in a plastic bag. No mortar, no flying objects and no knives. It is anger management with an edible outcome.
Away with nostalgia. Here comes the recipe for my almost Hakka yong tofu :
For soup base :
1 cup of soy bean, soaked overnight.
1 handful of ikan bilis
breast of a skinned chicken.
1 litre of hot water
Meat filling :
2 portions of fish paste or minced flesh of ribbon fish
1 portion of minced pork
2 handful of fresh peeled waterchestnut
10 bean puffs, halved and hollowed out.
1 block of tofu, divided to 2 triangle portions and hollowed out with a spoon.
3 red chillies, cut longitudinally and then deseeded
3 green chillies, cut longitudinally and then deseeded
8 hours before the dinner, combine all the soup base ingredient in a slow cooker and cook on high.
Just before eating, place the waterchestnut in a thick plastic bag. Seal it.
Bash the waterchestnut with a meat mallet to coarse bits.
Combine this with the meat filling.
(I did not season this tasty filling but nothing should stop you from personalizing your creation.)
Transfer the meat filling to another big plastic bag. Seal.
Cut the corner of the bag to allow the biggest bit of chestnut to flow through.
Pipe the filling to the bean puff, tofu, chillies.
Transfer the soup base to a open faced pot.
Cook the ingredients steamboat style. If it is to be served straight from the pot, cook the tofu last to prevent it from breaking up.
Garnish with chives. Dip with sauce of your preference.