The bean curd skin packet 豆包 featured in this post is something that I have had my eyes on since the first time I spotted it in the Chinese grocer more than a year ago. Back then I had no whatsoever idea about what they really is, let alone recognizing them as the very soy bean product that I have always loved. Braised, deep fried, or stir fried, they make a versatile ingredient just like any other bean curd products. Not knowing much, I resorted to asking the employees there about it but unfortunately, even that did not quite result in anything particularly fruitful. Well, I bought a pack anyway and figured I'll just deal with it later! lol.
The idea of incorporating the bean curd skin packets into this dish comes from the idea of the many Chinese banquets that I have attended over the past years. A brief glance at it, you probably would agree that this dish has got with it a natural sense of attractiveness. With the emerald green broccoli floret lined in a circle encasing the rich and elegant content in the center, this dish carries a blooming-like feature; one that looks and sounds auspicious enough to make it into the menu of those Chinese banquets.
Those restaurant-level versions, however, come a lot more fancier than this simple version of mine here; they often include high-end seafood products (abalones, sea cucumbers, dried oysters, fish maw or scallops) served alongside a variety of other side ingredients - the lotus seeds, black moss, assorted mushrooms, all kinds of soy bean products (tofu, bean curd skin or bean curd knots among the few) and plenty others.
Plainly an experiment, I chose to have the bean curd skin packets pan fried for a start. The end result? They were awesome!!! lol. Crispy on the outside while retaining their softness and flavors within, they pair exceptionally well with the braised fresh shiitake mushrooms so richly infused with the flavorsome gravy and the broccoli florets that come with a light crunch surrounding them all. Simple dish, simple ingredients, huge satisfaction! Wrapping up the Chinese New Year Series, here's to everyone -
Happy Chap Goh Meh 元宵节快乐!
Braised Bean Curd Skin Packets with Mushrooms and Broccoli 香菇西兰花焖豆包
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed
1/2 package of bean curd skin packet, thawed if frozen, spread out in a single later and arranged on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture
1 broccoli (just the florets), cut and rinsed
4 thin slices of ginger
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 tbsp cooking oil
enough cooking oil for pan frying
2 tbsps corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsps water for thickening
Seasonings (mix together in a bowl)
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
1. Heat 1/2 tbsp of cooking oil in a skillet. Once well heated, add in the ginger slices and stir fry until aromatic.
2. Add in the mushrooms followed by the seasonings. Bring to boil. Cover, lower the heat to low and let simmer away for at least an hour.
3. About 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving, set the steamer ready for the broccoli. Spread the broccoli florets in a single layer and sprinkle in a pinch of salt and sugar each. Cover and let steam for about 2 minutes (or 3 minutes if you prefer a softer texture). Remove from steamer and set aside.
4. Bring a pan to heat on high with enough oil for pan frying. Pat dry the bean curd skin packets further with paper towels. Once well heated, turn the heat down to medium-high and pan fry the bean curd skin packets in batches. Once browned and looking crispy (it will be quick - just a minute or two at most), carefully turn the packets over to pan fry the other side. Remove from pan and drain on a sieve. Transfer the bean curd skin packets onto a cooling rack to let cool. Once cooled down enough, you can choose to cut each bean curd skin packets into halves. Leave aside.
5. Returning to the mushrooms, thicken the gravy by gently pouring in the corn starch slurry bits by bits. Add just enough until you reach the preferred consistency.
6. Line the broccoli florets in a circle on a plate.
7. Add the bean curd skin packets to the skillet with mushrooms. Lightly toss to briefly coat the bean curd skin packets with the gravy.
8. Remove from heat. Arrange the bean curd skin packets and mushrooms as how you prefer them. Serve hot.