Recipe: Bean Curd Skin Rolls

Bean curd skin rolls are a favourite on dim sum menus across Hong Kong. Rather than the smooth flour-rich pastry of the classic spring roll, beancurd skin rolls are encased in a gossamer thin sheet of tofu or ‘bean curd’, skin that forms on the surface of soy milk as it cooks to make tofu – gluten free, of course. And instead of awkwardly tangled spring roll filling of julienned carrots, slices of cabbage, long beansprouts, all the ingredients are finely minced: chicken or pork, shiitake mushrooms, leek or spring onion.

In its packet, dried bean curd skin is folded formally like a serviette – awaiting its unfurling for cooking to get underway. Prise the brittle bean curd sheets apart, hearing them crackle as you work – and once wet and pliable, form them around the filling like leaves coating fat Cuban cigars.

I prefer to shallow fry the rolls in this recipe. The cellophane-like skin splutters and darkens as it protects the rich filling from the hot oil, absorbing nothing. A light vinegar dipping sauce is a perfect foil for most dim sum snacks, and these are no exception.

This video is a good overview of the recipe:

This beancurd skin roll recipe is a Chinese classic. The filling is richly seasoned with spring onion, soy and sesame, enriching the delicate flavour of chicken. The unconventional addition of Pixian chilli bean paste brings umami richness and a satisfying chilli kick. The recipe makes 10 beancurd skin rolls.


Ingredients Serves: 4


Method

  1. Soak the beancurd skin in warm water to make it easier to pull apart. Lay the pliable skin flat on a large work surface, and wipe well on each side to remove any curing salt.
  2. To make the filling, combine the chicken, egg yolk, spring onion, shiitake mushrooms, light soy sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, 5-spice powder, pixian chilli bean paste, and mix well.
  3. Cut sheets to size, approximiately 5” square. Lay small ‘sausages’ of filling near the top of each sheet. Fold in the sides, and then fold over the top. Then roll up to form a tight sausage.
  4. Fry in hot oil until crisp, and the centres reach 175 C or 160 F.
  5. Serve with dumpling vinegar

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