Dried bean curd sticks make a fantastic vegan or vegetarian store cupboard supper. It might be surprising that all the main ingredients are dried in this incredibly flavoursome recipe - 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.
The two different types of mushrooms in the recipe bring deep umami flavour, as well as adding another dimension of texture. It makes a quick, delicious and satisfying Chinese vegan meal.
What is dried bean curd skin?
Bean curd skin is the skin that forms on the top of soy milk when it is being made. The skin is skimmed off and dried to make dried beancurd skin. Sometimes it is sold in whole sheets to make dumpling wrappers, but it can also be rolled into sticks.
Dried bean curd skin in the form of sticks is 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 25 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 steamed greens or fried green beans with garlic.
Different brands of bean curd skin sticks come in different lengths and thicknesses, and so soaking time might be different. Just check the beancurd skin is soft before you drain it. Also be sure to use sliced shiitake mushrooms - the cooking time will be much longer for whole shiitake mushrooms.
Tested 23rd Jan 2020 by Nicola
Braised Bean Curd Skin With Mushrooms Ingredients Serves: 4
- 85g bean curd skin sticks (in 2 inch pieces)
- 30g Sous Chef dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 30g dried wood ear fungus, broken into 2cm pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 fat cloves garlic (20g), sliced
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1 fat red fresh chilli (20g) with its seeds, finely diced
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Chinkiang black vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 2 tsp potato flour
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Ingredients To Serve
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- Cooked white rice
Braised Bean Curd Skin With Mushrooms Recipe Method
- First rehydrate the dried bean curd skin sticks. In a large shallow dish, pour over boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes until soft. Cover with a small saucer if needed to keep the bean curd sticks submerged. Drain and discard the soaking liquid, gently squeezing out any excess water.
- Whilst the bean curd sticks soak, rehydrate the mushrooms. Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms, and broken black fungus to a small saucepan. Cover with boiling water and simmer for 6 minutes until soft. Drain, and reserve the soaking liquid. Rinse the drained mushrooms in several changes of water.
- Heat the oil in a wok, and add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Tip in the softened sliced bean curd skin sticks and mushrooms. Stir in the shaoxing rice wine, light soy, dark soy, vinegar, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Measure out 400ml of the mushroom soaking liquid, taking care to leave behind any sediment. Make up to 400ml with boiling water if needed. Pour into the wok and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Mix the potato flour with 3 tbsp cold water, and add to the wok. Stir for a minute until lightly thickened. Add the sesame oil, and another 1/2 tsp salt to taste.
- Garnish with sliced spring onion, and serve with plain steamed rice. Drizzle over more sesame oil if desired.