This dim sum beancurd (tofu skin) roll is packed with a delicious crunch from the mushrooms, carrots, that binds together with a scrumptious tofu and vegetable filling. They are then rolled in a beancurd sheet or yuba, fried, then steamed to perfection with an umami sauce.
Cantonese cuisine is so dear to my heart, from stir-fries, soothing soups to dim sum. Dim sum translates to ‘a touch of heart’ and is what I look forward on special occasions at yum cha (drink tea) with my family.
I love the hustle and bustle at dim sum restaurants from watching the servers push the cart and shout ‘har gau, siu mai’ to watching the chefs fill up a dumpling and pleat them gracefully into a beautiful dumpling in just mere seconds. There is another type of dim sum place that I love, the outdoor seating, usually with a more relaxed setting. These are the day-to-day breakfast places that you can get a few of your favorite dishes to-go or just dine-in with a cup of tea.
So, dim sum to me is more than just a dish, it’s filled with culture and memories. Now, let’s talk about the dishes. If you have been to dim sum restaurants before, you’ll know that there is not a long list of food that a vegan or vegetarian can choose from. But, don’t worry, let me bring you one of the dishes into your kitchen – beancurd roll or known as Fu Pei Guen or Sin Jyuk Guen.
What is Beancurd (Tofu skin) roll?
As the name implies, it’s a roll made by wrapping the filling with a beancurd sheet or yuba or tofu skin. Traditionally, it is filled with meat most likely pork and seafood along with other vegetables such as carrot, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. Once they are wrapped, these rolls are fried, and steamed with sauce before serving. This two-step method really brings out the beancurd sheet flavor and the final steam allows the roll to absorbs the umami sauce.
A beancurd sheet (yuba) is a thin layer that formed at the top when boiling soy milk. It’s then dry up before packaging. To properly handle it, you’ll need to rehydrate it until it’s pliable before using. In today’s recipe, I’m using the large sheet normally found in the freezer section. You don’t have to rehydrate it but instead, soften it with dabs of cornstarch slurry. The filling’s moisture will seep through and soften it when you are working with the rest of the rolls.
How to make Dim Sum Beancurd (Tofu skin) roll
I’m using tofu as the binding agent here. Similar to the vegan unagi method, I mashed the tofu with a scraper or you can place it in a nutmilk bag to remove the liquid.
Then, place mashed tofu in a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and season to taste. Add a spoonful of cornstarch and mix to combine. Note: To make the binding easier, I highly recommend chopping the ingredients into smaller pieces.
Now, remove the beancurd sheet from the package. If you get the one from the freezer, it’s usually soft and can be cut into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors easily. Mine comes in a full circle, so I divided it into 2, then cut it into 6-in squares.
Dissolve a spoonful of cornstarch in water to make a slurry. Using a brush, wet the beancurd squares.
Place a spoonful of filling on the square and wrap it into a spring roll making sure you seal all the openings. Do not overpack the roll to keep it from bursting open while frying. Repeat until you’ve finished with all the filling – I had about 16 rolls.
To fry the rolls, add enough oil to a large skillet to rise ½ inch up the sides and heat it to 350°F (~175°C). Carefully slide the rolls into the hot oil and fry under golden brown. Fry in batches if needed. Remove the rolls and drain them on a drain rack or paper towels to absorb excess oil. Divide the rolls into two plates.
Next, make the sauce. Heat a small pot with oil and sauté ginger until fragrant. Then, char the green onions for 30 seconds or so. Lower the heat and add the sauce and cook for a minute or so. Thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. Spoon this sauce over the rolls.
Transfer the plate to a bamboo steamer. Steam over high heat for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with a side of chile sauce.
Dim Sum beancurd (tofu skin) roll FAQ
1. Beancurd sheet or yuba – There are 2 main types of beancurd sheet; one you can find in the freezer section and another is in dried form. Similar to my Fu Pei Guen (Tofu skin roll), this sheet is from the freezer section and it’s pliable and delicious. If you do get the dried version, you’ll need to soften it but they are quite fragile. So, place the softened sheet on a cleaned towel. This way it keeps the sheet in place while you place the filling on there which makes rolling into a spring roll shape easier.
2. Filling variations – I use tofu as a binding agent here but you can use a variety of vegetables such as sautéed cabbage or jicama. By the way, jicama is really delicious after it’s braised, one of my favorite chai kueh’s ingredient.
3. Method of cooking – The reason for frying is to cook the beancurd sheet to puff it up. This will create air pockets which will then absorb the sauce easily when steam. However, for a less oil version, you can steam the rolls with sauce instead.
Because this recipe is so delicious, there’s no doubt that you’ll want to double the batches. So, feel free to set aside an afternoon, roll these up, shallow fry and freeze them. When ready, make the sauce and steam as described for a quick and delicious breakfast meal.
To store the rolls using the no-fry method, you’ll have to make sure that each roll is properly sealed. So, I highly recommend that you store them sealed side down in an airtight container. This way, the filling’s moisture will slowly seep through the beancurd sheet without breaking it.
2 more ways to enjoy beancurd sheet (tofu skin/yuba)
- Tofu skin roll (Fu Pei Guen) – a large roll filled with crunchy cabbage and braised in a delicious sauce
- Vegan drumsticks – a classic way of serving yuba on a stick often found at vegetarian stalls in Malaysia
This dim sum beancurd (tofu skin) roll is
- Scrumptious and tasty
- Simple to make
- Easily customizable – use gluten-free sauces as an option
- Perfect for make-ahead meals (store the rolls and sauce separately)
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Dim Sum Beancurd (Tofu skin) roll
Makes 16 rolls
- 2 beancurd sheet (yuba) round
- 5 dried Shiitake mushrooms rehydrated and thinly sliced
- 1 oz wood ear mushrooms rehydrated and sliced
- 1 small carrot shredded
- 1 lb [397g] firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons bamboo shoot strips
- 3 tablespoons chopped water chestnuts
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- First, mash the tofu using a pastry scraper until no large lumps appear. Alternatively, place the tofu in a nut milk bag and squeeze to mash it.
- Transfer tofu to a large bowl. Add the mushrooms, carrot, bamboo shoot, water chestnuts and season with salt, sugar, mushroom seasoning, and toasted sesame oil. Using a spatula or your hand, mix everything together with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Prepare the beancurd sheet. Mine comes in a large circular sheet, so I halved it and then cut it into 6-in squares (You should have about 16 sheets)
- Next, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 ½ tablespoons of water to make a slurry.
- Then, lay the beancurd sheet on a work surface, using a brush moist it with the slurry. Spoon a filling in the middle and wrap it like a spring roll, making sure all the openings are securely sealed. Cover the wrapped rolls so they don't dry up.
- To shallow fry the rolls, add enough oil to a large skillet to rise ½ inch up the sides and heat it to 350°F (~175°C). Carefully slide the rolls into the hot oil and fry under golden brown. Fry in batches if needed. Remove the rolls and drain them on a drain rack or paper towels to absorb excess oil. Then, divide the rolls into two plates.
- Prepare a quick slurry by mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Now, sauté ginger until aromatic and char the green onions.
- Slowly add in the water along with the rest of the seasoning ingredients. While stirring, cook the sauce until bubbly and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the ginger and green onions, then slowly stir in cornstarch slurry and cook the sauce until thickened.
- Spoon this sauce over the rolls. Transfer to a steamer and steam over high heat for 10 minutes. Serve warm with a side of chile.