Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fried Tofu Skin Rolls


My mom and I meet for lunch quite often and nearly always meet at a Chinese restaurant next to a Chinese grocery store which are somewhat equidistant between our two houses.  The restaurant serves dim sum at lunch, and though we each normally order one of their 'lunch special' items, I am always tempted to get one dim sum item to share.  A steamed tofu skin roll is a favorite and is something I had never made before.  In looking for new things to try for this Chinese New Year, I decided to make a fried version thinking the kids and Chris may prefer that to steamed.  This roll can either be steamed or fried, so the preparation of it is the same, and once rolled, you can decide whether you'd prefer to steam or fry them.

Makes approximately 16 rolls:

1 ¼  pound ground pork
6 ounces small shrimp, shelled, deveined and finely chopped
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces water chestnuts, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp finely minced ginger
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 egg white
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp ground white pepper
4 tbsp reserved liquid from shiitake mushrooms
tofu skin

1 egg beaten for wrapping the rolls



Rinse and soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water until softened. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms, reserve soaking liquid and cut the mushrooms into tiny pieces.  Combine all ingredients, except tofu skin, in a large bowl and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so or overnight.



Unless you can find fresh tofu skins, they are dried but are found in the freezer section.  Per my mom, if left just dried and not frozen, they would easily break apart.  To prepare the skins, defrost them in the refrigerator.  They defrost rather quickly.  The package of skins I had were large round pieces which I quartered, cutting them with scissors.  Soak each piece in cold water for about 30 seconds or until softened. Gently squeeze out the excess water.



Form a small roll of the ground pork mixture at the base and center of the tofu skin.  Roll over twice and then fold one side of the skin over onto itself, roll again, and fold the other side of the skin over onto itself.  Then finish rolling to the end and brush the edge of the skin to help seal the roll.  


The tofu skins felt wet and since I rolled these ahead of time, I let them sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, until ready to fry.  You don't want to drop a wet roll into the hot oil as you will have a lot of splatter.  



Heat a pot of oil until it reaches 350f.  If you are only frying a few, you can use a smaller pot, therefore having to use less oil and you only need oil deep enough so that the rolls will not touch the bottom of the pot when frying.  But keep in mind, if you overcrowd the pot, the oil temp will drop a lot and therefore take longer to get back up to heat.  This will cause uneven frying.  I gave some uncooked rolls to my mom and froze the rest and will try steaming them next time.  But these fried ones sure were delicious!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chinese Daikon (Turnip) Cake


Chinese New Year, the year of the rooster, is this Saturday, January 28, and I am in prep mode.  I pulled this recipe out from a post from a few years ago and made a few minor edits and added some photos. I made a 1.5 batch of the below recipe this time around and am posting this ahead of the final step of frying before eating so that you can use the recipe if you'd like before the weekend.  I'll be adding the finished product photo later this weekend.  

This recipe contains a lot more of the flavor bits; the Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp and scallion than I've had at our local dim sum restaurants.  I think it probably contains more daikon as well as the daikon being more substantial in the cake.  I used my food processor with the grater attachment to grate the 3 pounds of daikon, so the size of the grated daikon is thicker.  In comparison, this daikon cake will not be as smooth and doughy than what you might get at a restaurant.  I favor the extra flavor bits and daikon strips.

2 lbs Chinese daikon
1 oz small dried shrimp
1 1/2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms
5 oz Chinese sausage
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 tsp sugar
3 tsp rice wine
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp Ground white pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 2/3 cups rice flour
2 cups of liquid reserved from turnip, shrimp and shiitakes
oil for pan frying

Grate the turnip using a coarse grater into a large bowl, or use the grater attachment on your food processor.  Cover the turnips with salted boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Drain using a sieve or colander, reserving the liquid.  When cool enough, squeeze out as much excess water as possible and squeeze the water into the reserved water.  Loosen the daikon so it is not stuck together. 

Rinse then soak the dried shrimp in boiling water until soft.  Drain, adding the liquid to the turnip liquid.  Chop the shrimp into very small pieces.

Rinse then soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water until softened.  Drain and add the liquid to the turnip liquid.  Squeeze out excess liquid from the mushrooms, remove stems and finely chop.

Steam the Chinese sausages for about 10 minutes and finely dice.










In a large wok, heat 1 tbsp of oil.  Fry the sausages for about a minute and then add the shrimp and mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes.  If you have very lean sausages, you may need to add additional oil. Add the scallions, garlic, sugar, wine, soy and white pepper and stir fry for another couple of minutes.  Then add the turnip, cilantro and rice flour and toss to combine well.  Add the reserved liquid and mix well.  







Put the turnip mixture into a greased square pan, 10" x 10".  Or split up into two smaller pans depending on the size of your steamer or wok.  Steam for 75 to 90 minutes, adding water as needed to steamer.  I am now the happy owner of a convection steam oven, so I used that this time around.  But a large wok or other steam contraption will work just fine.



Let cool slightly, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove the cake from the pan and cut into small squares.  With our below freezing temps, I just put my pan outside for a few couple of hours and it was ready to go.  



Pan fry the turnip cakes in a little bit of oil over medium heat until heated through and just slightly crispy on the outside.