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.
What is bean curd, or soya bean curd?
Bean curd or soya bean curd is another name for tofu, and is made from ground and pressed soy beans. Our guide to tofu explains how to use it, and when you might want to try different varieties.
What makes bean curd skin rolls different?
Bean curd skins are 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.
We’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe, please do leave a comment below if you’ve tried it. You might also like to try Braised Bean Curd Skin with Mushrooms, or browse our collection of tofu, beans and pulses here.
Ingredients for bean curd skin rolls Serves: 4
- 1 packet beancurd skin dumpling wrappers
- 400g minced chicken thigh
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 spring onions minced,
- 3 shiitake mushrooms minced (soak in water first to rehydrate, if dried)
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 1 tsp Pixian chilli bean paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 50ml sunflower oil for frying
- Dumpling vinegar, to serve
Method for making the rolls
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fry in hot oil until crisp, and the centres reach 175 C or 160 F.
- Serve with dumpling vinegar
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.