Sunday, July 14, 2013
Tofu Skin Rolls
Trying new things. These are (browned then) steamed rolls with skins made from very thin sheets of tofu--a dim sum classic. Filling is commonly pork with bamboo and black mushrooms (aka shiitake). You can buy tofu skins (called fu zhu, "bean curd bamboo" in Chinese, or yuba, "hot water leaf" in Japanese) in dried form, which needs to be soaked in water to rehydrate. Once rehydrated, the skins are very delicate and tear easily. As this was my first time working with it, I had some issue with not knowing which way to cut and unfold, since the sheets are dried folded. This meant a fair amount of undesirably placed tears and shreds. Which was fine--I had more than I needed to use the filling I'd prepared, and just used the rest in a vegetable stir fry.
The filling for these kinds of foods (the other main ones being dumpling and meatball related) used to seem dauntingly time-consuming to me. But I've since gotten used to the preparation of the filling, itself--it's actually the outsides that are more troublesome, for dumplings of various sorts. Fortunately, with tofu skins, you don't have to go through the hassle of measuring and mixing the wrapping ingredients yourself; just rehydrate and go (unless you're crazy and want to make them yourself!). It still takes some time, though, working with the delicate skins, and then browning the outside to seal the flap, before finally steaming. Though, maybe you don't really have to brown the rolls before steaming...
I was concerned that the wet skins would sputter and not brown well, but surprisingly, they actually brown (without sticking!) really easily. Hmm...not sure why. Maybe because they're so thin.
Anyway, check out Chichi Wang's recipe here, which I loosely followed, along with this one from Susan Wong. Note you can just pan-fry the rolls to brown the outsides and seal the flap instead of deep-frying like Wang does, as Wong's recipe shows. However, Wang is right that you only need steam for 15-20 minutes on high (or at least, it was definitely done at 20 minutes for me). You can also just deep fry your tofu skin rolls instead of steaming, and there are recipes for that online, as well.