This is a great vegetarian store cupboard supper. It might be surprising that all the main ingredients are dried - typical of many Chinese dishes. The highlight is bean curd - or beancurd or tofu - 'skin', which takes on the flavour of the braising liquid and has an intriguing almost omelette-like chewiness.
What is dried bean curd skin?
Dried bean curd skin in the form of sticks are often considered a substitute to meat, however it is great used alongside beef or lamb in other slow-cooked dishes for a contrasting texture.
What are the health benefits of dried bean curd skin?
Dried bean curd skin is a fantastic meat alternative, soaking up rich umami flavours from soy sauce and mushrooms in Chinese stocks. Like tofu it is high in protein, low fat, high fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins and magensium.
Soy-based products are famous for helping to lower cholesterol. They are also high in isoflavones which are thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer and reduce the risk of osteoporosis post menopause.
Cooking and serving the bean curd skin recipe
The recipe takes around 45 minutes, of which much of the time is spent just leaving the ingredients to rehydrate, or simmer. Serve with a side of steamed rice, and perhaps some quick pan fried green beans with garlic.
- 85g or 3 dried bean curd skin sticks
- 25g or 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 20g dried fungus
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1 chilli, finely diced
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp potato flour
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- First rehydrate the dried bean curd skin sticks and mushrooms. In a large shallow dish, pour boiling water over the dried bean curd and leave to soak for 15 minutes until soft.
- Place the shiitake mushrooms, and black fungus together in a saucepan. Cover with boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes until soft. Drain, and reserve the soaking liquid.
- Drain the bean curd skin. Drain the mushrooms, but reserve the mushroom soaking liquid. Set aside. Cut the bean curd into 1 inch pieces, and discard any pieces that have not softened, perhaps because they weren't full covered in water. Slice the mushrooms and fungus, cutting away any hard pieces.
- Heat the oil in a wok, and add the garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Toss in the softened sliced bean curd skin sticks and mushrooms. Stir in the shaoxing rice wine, dark soy, light soy, sugar and salt.
- Measure the mushroom soaking liquid, and make up to 250ml with hot water. Pour into the wok. Leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Mix the potato flour with a little cold water, and stir into the tofu-mushroom mixture. Stir gently until thickened. Add the sesame oil, and more salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with sliced spring onion, and serve with plain steamed rice.
After a stage as a chef at a London Michelin-starred restaurant Nicola became obsessed with seeking the best flavours from around the world. She started Sous Chef in 2012, and is always sharing her knowledge of ingredients and writing recipes to showcase those products. Learning from the products, Sous Chef's suppliers and her travels, Nicola has written the majority of the recipes on the Sous Chef website, all of which are big on flavour.