I was really looking forward to trying my February calendar recipe - bean curd rolls! I barely even knew such a thing existed but it could only be six kinds of right, right? A vegan and gluten-free alternative to spring rolls, deep-fried golden and crispy.
Little did I know that the bean curd sheet in my cupboard was... weird. It was actually a single sheet, which had been folded up into a rectangle in a previous, more flexible lifetime before drying out to crumbly rigidity. I figured it probably just needed a light dunking in warm water to restore it to a fold-friendly state, like a rice paper wrap, but this didn't quite work out. The outside of the sheet dissolved quickly into sloppiness while the inside remained brittle. Worse, the outer layer was not of even thickness at all, looking like a sloppy mesh. I found it very difficult to roll it round the filling.
The deep-frying was not without its worries, either. I struggled to cook the rolls evenly (they have a powerful centre of gravity!), some threatened to unravel and they never quite attained the crunchiness I had fantasised about. Oh well. I have to admit they tasted pretty good, for all that. Michael heartily enjoyed them, and was particularly enthusiastic about the sauce. This gave me a chuckle since it's made of no more than a blended can of mango.
I'm still a bean curd roll believer - I'm convinced there are better ones out there. Does anyone have any hints on choosing and using bean curd sheets?
Bean curd rolls with mango sauce
(ingredient quantities adapted, original recipe also found online here)
half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
1 x 50g bean curd sheet
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
200g canned mango
more coriander leaves + chopped fresh red chilli, to garnish
Reserve a little of the coriander as a garnish. Chop the carrot, mushrooms, and the rest of the coriander finely and place them in a medium-large bowl. Crumble or mash the tofu into the bowl and combine the ingredients thoroughly.
Soften the bean curd sheet by brushing it with warm water. Separate the layers. Place a tablespoon or so of filling onto a sheet segment and roll it up. Dust the roll lightly with cornflour. Continue rolling the tofu filling into the bean curd sheets, dusting them with cornflour.
Heat the oil in a saucepan. While it's heating, puree the mango in a food processor until smooth. Line a plate with absorbent paper.
Deep-fry the rolls, just two or three at a time, until they're golden brown. Drain them on the absorbent paper.
To serve, arrange the rolls on a plate, cover them with pureed mango and sprinkle over the reserved coriander and red chilli.