Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 9, 2011: Bean curd rolls with mango sauce

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)

1 carrot
3 mushrooms
half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
400g tofu
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.


  1. Good luck with the bean curd sheet search. I hope you find something perfect and give this another go :)

  2. You can get fresh bean curd sheets in the fridge in some Asian groceries... I keep meaning to try them but I haven't! But still, the dried ones are a bit unwieldy, right?

  3. seems strange to stuff bean curd with bean curd! but I am impressed you had dried bean curd in your cupboard and that you deep fried them

    btw - where is the challenge that these are gf and vegan - maybe you should take your challenge the opposite direction and add animal products and gluten - ha ha (or maybe the gf vegan version was last year's calendar)

  4. Was it the beancurd skin in the green packet? I got some of that a while ago to make a wrapped seitan roast and had the exact same problem! I have since bought another brand, but have not used it yet. It seems to be a bit more pliable in the dried form than the other, and hopefully will be in a slightly smaller sheet for easier soaking. I shall report when I finally get around to using it!

  5. That bean curd skin is what we use to make loh bak (pork rolls) at Chinese New Year's. Def don't soak it. You just use a pair of scissors to cut it into appropriate squares, and then fill them and roll them. While you're working on one roll, cover the others with a lightly damp teatowel or clean chux, so they don't dry out.

    If your bean curd skins go completely brittle then there is no saving them, so they have to be kept completely air tight if you're not about to use them.

    We also brush a mix of cornflour and water around the edges to make sure it stays closed.

    xox Sarah

  6. I've had exactly the same problem! When I got it out of the packet it looked like a folded up blanket. It was completely hard, so I soaked it, and it didn't really take the water that well. I tore off a corner and tasted it, and it tasted rancid, so I threw it out!

    I had more luck with a different brand of the same thing, which I soaked in water, then drained, and then rolled around a mix of tofu and seaweed and toasted sesame seeds, and then steamed in a bamboo steamer. They were particularly delicious steamed tofu rolls, but I have no clue how to reproduce them now, as I can't remember which brand of tofu sheet was the successful one! :(

  7. We had the same issue with our seitan roast at christmas. Luckily that went into the oven, so it was a bit more forgiving, but there was a brand in a red pack at our asian grocery store that looked a lot better quality. But of course we had to go with the cheapest, green packet.

  8. penny is right, you need the fresh beancurd skin

  9. Phew, the blogosphere (& twitterverse) are such a wealth of information!

    Thanks so much for your advice, everyone. Looks like I need to track down a different brand of bean curd sheet, preferably something fresh.

  10. just saw your comment at in the mood for noodles - I recently bought dried bean curd and it was horrid so I figure I used it the wrong way (in a stir fry because I was out of tofu) but am interested to see about your experience and the comments

  11. Johanna - I haven't tried this again, but I think we both need to find ourselves some fresh bean curd sheets!