Bean Curd Sheets, or tofu skin (not to be confused with the type of tofu skin consisting of compressed sheets of tofu) have been used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine for centuries.
It’s not completely obvious to the uninitiated how to use them, however. We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this quick article.
What Are Bean Curd Sheets?
Bean curd sheets or skins are made by cooking soy milk until a film forms on top. That film is then lifted off the soy milk and dried into sheets. These sheets can be layered and stuffed with fillings:
A similar process can create dried bean curd sticks, which are rolled into long sticks before drying.
The sheets come both fresh or dried. The dried version must be rehydrated in water before use. If you’re lucky enough to have a well stocked Asian grocery store near you that stocks the fresh version, definitely buy fresh, as they are easier to work with and taste much better.
English translations of this ingredient can cause confusion, since it is often called “tofu skin,” a term that could refer to several different bean curd products, including these bean curd sheets, bean curd sticks, as well as compressed sheets of tofu. (pictured below).
How Are They Used?
Bean curd sheets are used in soups, stews, wraps and dim sum dishes. One dim sum dish you may have tried is steamed tofu skin rolls, which are usually filled with a mixture of mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and meat.
The rehydrated sheets are layered and the filling is wrapped inside. They are then steamed and usually served with a flavorful sauce poured over the top.
Similar to that is this Buddhist-style vegetarian duck recipe, which layers bean curd sheets to create a chewy texture that resembles duck.
If using dried, they must be soaked in water and rehydrated before using.
Buying & Storing
Dried Bean Curd Sheets do not have to be refrigerated and are sold in sheets near their similar stick-like counterparts, dried bean curd sticks. They can be found in Chinese grocery stores, and should be stored in a cool dry place.