Delving into the vast array of tofu products in Asian markets might overwhelm the uninitiated. From familiar options like soft and firm tofu to unique choices like spiced versions and soy puffs, the variety is impressive. And among these, tofu skin, a favorite in dishes like bok choy stir-fry with beancurd sheets, captures many a gourmet’s attention. If this intrigues you, here’s your essential guide to understanding and enjoying it.
Demystifying Tofu Skin
Tofu skin, as exotic as it may sound, is merely the layer that forms on the surface of boiling soy milk. If you’ve seen that film that emerges on hot dairy milk, tofu skin is its plant-based counterpart. Searching for it? Various names might pop up – from 腐皮 (fu-pi), 腐衣 (fu-yi), and 腐竹 (fu-zhu) in Chinese, to “tofu sheets,” “bean curd sheets,” or “bean threads” in English. They can be found in versatile forms like fresh sheets, dried strips, or even artfully tied knots, each offering distinct culinary experiences.
Culinary Magic with Tofu Skin
The fresh variant of tofu skin often finds its place in zesty Asian salads and rapid stir-fries, given its ready-to-eat nature. The larger frozen sheets? Those are fantastic as wraps, reminiscent of the beloved dim sum dishes like xian-zhu-juan (鲜竹卷). Once rehydrated, dried bean sticks morph into ingredients suitable for an array of dishes, from salads and stir-fries to soups and braises.
Our introductory recipe for you today brings forth the simplicity and deliciousness of tofu skin – a hearty Stir-fried Bok Choy with Tofu Skin. Moving beyond the confines of boxed tofu can be revelatory! Many who have tried this variant have been pleasantly surprised, and we believe it’s high time you experienced it too.
Note: Lacking fresh tofu skins? Fret not. Dry soybean stick or threads can be a worthy alternative. Ensure they are soaked in cold water until they soften, which can take a few hours. Post-soaking, a quick blanch in boiling water will have them ready for your culinary exploits.
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¾ pound bok choy, well-washed and drained
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust per taste)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ pack of fresh tofu skin, chopped into bite-sized bits (roughly 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed in 2 tablespoons water)
- Warm the oil in a wok on a medium flame. Introduce the ginger first and after about 30 seconds, add in the garlic.
- Raise the heat to high and usher in the bok choy, giving it a good stir. As it starts to wilt, mix in the salt, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper.
- It’s time for the water and fresh tofu skin. A golden tip? Avoid stirring immediately. Ensure the tofu skin rests atop the bok choy to prevent it from sticking to the wok. Secure the wok with its lid and let it steam for a minute.
- Lift the lid, pour in the cornstarch solution, and gently amalgamate all the ingredients.
Venturing into the vast world of tofu products can be a culinary delight, opening doors to a myriad of flavors and textures. So, the next time you spot tofu skin at your local Asian store, you now know what to do! Embrace it, experiment with it, and savor every bite.