This tofu with beansprouts dish is so easy I don’t even know if it warrants a recipe. Although I suppose for people who didn’t grow up in an Asian household, the combination of ingredients can seem quite random. Sometimes, beansprouts are used as a garnish, like in Tahu Goreng (Indonesian Deep Fried Tofu). But, my favourite way to eat them is like this. Just a huge mound of beansprouts stir-fried all at once.
When I was about 6, my maternal grandmother or ah ma came to live with us. At that time, Singapore was running an aggressive Speak Mandarin campaign that basically told everyone that dialects were for uneducated, low class people. The result was that whole generations like mine lost the ability to speak their ancestral dialects. My ah ma spoke mostly Teochew and a little Mandarin. We couldn’t communicate much, so instead of having clear moving memories her, I just have snapshots of her in my mind, images of her around the house.
Often when I got home from primary school, my ah ma would have prepared lunch. Three dishes will always remind me of her: fried pomfret, stir-fried green beans with carrots, and this tofu with beansprouts or taukwa with taugeh. My ah ma is now long gone but I think of her whenever I see this dish. The simplicity of this down-to-earth dish, its taste and smell, will always evoke a feeling of home for me.
This is probably the most unpretentious, unexciting home-cooking dish in the world. I love it.
PS: In case you are wondering why it says taukwa with taugeh instead of taukwa char taugeh, it’s because I reserve my right as a Singaporean to mix languages.