I'll bet that's a blog post title that you just could not resist! A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe that someone had posted on Instagram that looked so good that I had to try it.
Bean Curd Sheet Vegan Adventures
This is vegan Teriyaki Chicken from a recipe @veggieanh. It uses king oyster mushrooms and tofu skin which is where my adventure began. It was seriously delicious and the tofu skin was weirdly similar to chicken skin. I had a terrible time untangling the tofu skins (also known as bean curd sheets and a bunch of other things) and I am inclined to chalk that up to not knowing what type of tofu skin to use. In case you aren't familiar with it, tofu skin is a little like the skin that forms on top of pudding but as part of the tofu making process. For technical info, you'll have to look elsewhere but I do know that there are people out there making it at home.
I had purchased the first bean curd skin that I saw which was the fresh stuff at T and T Market. It tended to be very sticky and hard to flatten out into sheets. I made a huge mess but the recipe turned out tasty and the 'chicken skin' turned out very well. The advantage of this was that it was very thin but I feel like it would be better sliced up into noodles or something maybe as it was so hard to flatten.
From this point, I started watching YouTube videos by people who knew what they were doing. Some folks got from somewhere, dried large sheets that flattened easily and rehydrated with very little liquid. I have still not found that product and I feel like the key is on the Chinese symbols that identify the product. The English translation gives no clues as to what the nature of the product actually is.
One of my next attempts was a recipe for Vegan Duck (from this point forward the recipes are a mish-mash of YouTuber recipes). Again, I obviously used the wrong product but the results were still amazing (it is all about the sauce).
This time I had purchased dried bean curd sheets that would need rehydrating. After a couple of hours in water, this became something that I would compare to vinyl wallpaper and was definitely not the product that I would choose for the duck recipe. However, it is what I had so I went ahead and rolled the sheets as the YouTube video instructed. This brand of sheets did not behave well (although it tasted just like all bean curd does) but I was able to salvage a few finished rolls as you see above.
Next, I attempted to make bean curd skin 'bacon'. Vegans seem quite enthused (myself included) about making something that tastes like bacon and ideas are all over social media. I tried a couple of different types of products and finally found a thin sheet that comes in maybe 4" by 8" squares.
These sheets worked the best as 'bacon' although I took the thin sheets and folded them once so the strips are double layered. Again the whole trick is in the marinade and this was a very good one. Just Google a recipe and you will find something that suits you. I think this came from a YouTuber called Sauce Stache and the result was smokey and sweet and I will make it again.
Finally, we tried another more traditional Chinese recipe for a Bean Curd Roll. I used another brand of thicker sheets and you can see from the photo and the texture that it is a little heavier. I'm not sure if traditionally, a thick sheet would be used. These are both fried and then braised (or maybe steamed) and just filled with all kinds of vegan ingredients. They were quite tasty and once again the sauce was the star!
Some of the thicker product worked just fine when torn into pieces and paired with a nice stir fry sauce as in the dish above. Of course, tofu and all its related products are quite neutral in flavour and so provide a palette for whatever you like as sauces and marinades. Healthy, of course, as soy provides one of the few complete non-animal proteins. I will continue to look for the very thin large sheets that I see in the YouTube videos. But this was fun and educational, at least for me!
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