There are many, many dishes I would so love to cook, but if I find any one of my three recipe deal breakers in it, then I’m out.
And my 3 recipe deal breakers are:
- Too many ingredients are involved
If the ingredient list runs over a page, it’s just not going to happen, because at the end of the day, I really, really just want to eat.
2. Ingredients are too hard to get
Wakame, wakame, why-fore aren’t thou at the local Chinese grocery store? I don’t want to be tripping across town to source anything. I just want to eat.
3. Twice cooked anything
If I have to cook something two times before I can eat it (hello crispy skin chicken), I move on. Who has the time and desire to wash an extra pot?
I saw this recipe in a DVD episode of Poh’s Kitchen. It actually contains deal breaker number 3, but I didn’t know this when I decided to make it. I only saw the beginning of the segment when she introduced all the ingredients and then the end when she deep fried the beads. Ooohhh, I’d eat that. I’m going to make it!
I was making ginger tea during the actual making and cooking part. Some people would say that it’s quite an important part to watch when learning how to make a dish. I say I was in need of some tea at that precise time and forgot, or didn’t even think to pause or replay the segment.
I did print out the recipe afterwards. But by the time I realized you had to steam AND deep fry, Daddyken had already invested some time into getting me the ingredients and mum had already washed and peeled 2 small bags of chestnuts they had harvested from their garden, especially for the dish.
But as it turns out, I’d happily eat it and make it again. It was crunchy on the outside and the combination of the pork and prawns is a favourite pairing of mine, of which you’ll find in many Chinese dishes. It also reminds me of some of the dumplings you’d get at Yum Cha.
I also score two bonuses with this dish:
- It’s gluten free because it uses bean curd skin so Daddyken can eat it
- There’s no carb in bean curd skin, which means I can have a guilt free pig out!!
And despite the double cooking, it was surprisingly really easy to do.
Poh’s Prawn and Yuba Beads
- 500g fresh prawns, shelled and chopped (so there is still a bit of texture)
- 250g pork mince
- 1 ½ tsp corn flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 egg
- 5 large shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water squeezed and chopped finely
- 1 tbs shaoxing rice wine (chinese cooking wine)
- 150g water chestnuts, julienned
- 250g Chinese soft bean curd skins (Not the pale yellow brittle sort. This one is a golden colour and translucent and should be very flexible in the packaging)
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Mix all ingredients except for bean curd and lemon wedges. Work mixture with hand till it is very sticky and opaque.
- Lay out the bean curd skin and smooth out the folds and wrinkles. Cut off the rounded part of the skin to make it into a rectangle and easier to roll (see notes below on what you can do with the left over bean curd skin).
- Spoon the prawn and pork mixture onto the skin in a long thin line so that when you roll it over it is about the thickness of a regular sausage. Leave a 3cm space from the left edge and six centimetres at the other end. Ensure you tuck the mixture right in, under the bean curd skin so there is not a big cavity as this will cause the skin to split easily. Roll about four rotations.
4. Now with kitchen string, start by tying and knotting from left to right, making small balls along the sausage, so it resembles a chain of beads. You should be able to fit seven to eight per chain (or you can make larger ones like the ones I’ve made). Repeat process till all filling is used.
6. Place the chains in a dish or bamboo steamer (they can lay close to one another) and steam for ten minutes. Cut at the tied intervals and remove string.
7. In a wok heat oil to medium and deep fry the beads till they are golden. Drain on paper towelling.
8. Serve with lemon wedges and rice
- Recipe rewritten from Poh’s Kitchen, with my own small additions. I love watching Poh’s cooking shows not only because she cooks the type of Asian food that I love to eat, she doesn’t take herself too seriously and her warmth and energy is really infectious.
- ‘Yuba’ means tofu or bean curd skin, and is made from the skin that forms when you boil soy milk (just like the skin that forms when you boil milk).
- Poh actually recommends eating these beads with chilli oil, but since the arrival of the Cherubs, we’re not used to eating spicy foods anymore, so we opted out.
- You can make Chinese ‘mock duck’ with the left over cuts of the bean curd:
- Wet the bean curd skin and place in a square baking tin
- Brush a little bit of soy sauce, Chinese five spice powder, sesame oil and hoisin sauce on top, and put another layer on top
- Repeat with the spices and oil with each layer
- Steam for 10 mins
- Bake, covered in the oven for another 10 mins.
- Cut into pieces and eat with rice.