Indian spiced crispy bean curd skin, ung choi and carrot pancake wraps

5 Feb


 Indian spiced crispy bean curd skin, ung choi and carrot pancake wraps

Why don’t you just eat duck?


My first ‘proper’ job was at the Bank of England when I was 21, in research. It was my first proper job because it was the first structured and full time role I had taken. I was so proud. I’ve long since forgotten that particular feeling of executive pride and I am sighing and smiling wisely as I write this.

I loved that black suited and focused people walked carefully on their heels, echoing their esteemed selves to somewhere clearly, very important to aid decision-making for the economy of our great country.  Tiny mice made intermittent visits around the history of the building and one of my ‘down time’ favourite activities was mooching around economic papers in the vast and superior library within the Bank in the vault, near where old money was you know…it was hot there.


We had rule books on how to structure charts for publications.  On one occasion whilst discussing it during drinks with some colleagues he asked me whom I would support if India and England were playing a cricket match. I said that I didn’t follow cricket, I’m not into sport. ‘But if you were, lets say’. You see  I didn’t understand all this, I was a feisty, ambitious and focused young lady but in hindsight, naive. I wasn’t used to being made aware of race. I’ve never actually really thought about it.  My now-husband accompanied me to work on the tube for the first couple of days when I started work, because I was a tube virgin. He took pictures of me outside the Bank.


Then the questions followed at work, ‘do you wear a headscarf at home?’ No, I’m Hindu. ‘Do you make samosas?’ I’m 21; I go out with my friends. ‘Are you having an arranged marriage?’ I’ve got a boyfriend.


One of the questions I often get asked is whether I am vegetarian for religious reasons. No. No.

Indian spiced crispy bean curd skin, ung choi and carrot pancake wraps

One of the things I learned over the years is that the people around you, your own mind-set and your own actions make something special happen. Not a place, hierarchy, status, or a title or any other outwardly definition, for those just doesn’t last. Really and truly, they don’t.  I used to read words like this and dismiss them. As much as we would will it to be progressively checking the milestones we plan, Life isn’t a freaking chart, is it.


In that must lay some strength. As I pick up the fragments I’m not piecing them together, I’m visualising new things. My heart isn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. In fact I’m even more able to give good wishes and love. As a youngster I didn’t experience failure but they always said it’s important to fail. I never understood why. Nobody ever said.

Failing is a process that allows a person to develop coping skills, growing skills, maturity, humility, grit, resilience. These shouldn’t just be words you bang out in the opening statement of the CV.  If we don’t fail at the smaller hurdles in life, when the bigger stuff hits (and it will, it does) then we don’t know what to do with ourselves. And the older we grow, often there are fewer hands to walk us to shore.


I tell my boy that he should be kind, clever, and brave and always love his mumma.


I don’t eat duck. I eat things that taste good without having quacked. Bean curd skins are a good source of protein and have bite. The wraps contain ung choi, which is a bit like spinach and it wilts quickly, but it’s a bit more peppery. I picked my latest batch up from Tesco.  This wrap is peppery, silky, slightly sweet, has bite and they’re easy to eat. Easy is good, isn’t it.


Ingredients to make 15 pancake wraps


250g of Ung choi, washed and sliced

One large carrot, grated

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp. fennel seeds

¾ tsp. cumin seeds

1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce

¼ tsp. turmeric

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. coriander powder

½ tsp. garam masala

75g of bean curd skins (the sticks, they are available at oriental supermarkets)

Oil for deep frying the skins


For the pancakes

300g bread flour

100ml boiling water

75ml cold water

2 tsp. sesame oil



1.     Soak the bean curd skins (use the sticks) in plenty of warm water for about two hours. They will swell. Drain the water, and then slice them into 3-4 cm rounds. Leave them to dry.

2.     Heat oil in a deep pan and then deep fry the bean curd skins until the fluff up and catch a golden colour

3.     Make the dough by first pouring the boiling water into the flour and mix it well. Then pour in the cold water and form dough, kneed it well and then rest the dough for 15 minutes, before dividing it into 15 equal portions. Roll out the pancakes into thin chapatti before toasting them on a non-stick panpancake 1jpeg

4.     In another pan, heat the oil and add the cumin and fennel seeds and when the sizzle, stir in the garlic. Sauté for a minute, then add the ung choi and carrot and stir it well. Sprinkle in the turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala and stir well. Sauté for a minute before drizzling in the soy sauce and introducing pieces of fried bean curd skins. Cook the vegetables for another 3 minutes before turning off the heat.

5.     Finally, assemble the wraps by putting a little filling in the centre of the pancake, wrap it, and eat it.


22 Responses to “Indian spiced crispy bean curd skin, ung choi and carrot pancake wraps”

  1. Poppy February 6, 2014 at 3:53 am #

    Very inspirational Deena, thank you for sharing your story xx

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      Thank you Poppy, thanks for reading it x

  2. Anita Menon February 6, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Very honest post Deena. I love the chappati wrap. Have been thinking if such a wrap would stay fresh if i were to take to office for lunch. A soggy wrap is an appetite killer.

    This one looks amazing

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Anita, I am glad that you enjoyed the post.

      I made this wrap with bread flour rather than Chappati flour, so it’s tougher. I use this for a packed lunch, but keep the filling separate until lunchtime. I hope you enjoy it x

  3. Ganga108 February 6, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Beautiful post. Truly.

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Thank you for commenting, thank you for reading it and enjoying it xx

  4. Katie @ Whole Nourishment February 6, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Again, really wonderful reflections you’ve made. I can relate; how your experiences and the people around you shape your perspectives, and having a lighter heart as you age that allows you to be kinder, gentler to yourself and others. So true and I think these are the facts young women need to focus on as they age instead of only their outer beauty and body. This is why I look forward to aging in a way, I think that women embrace their wisdom and natural beauty more over time, and it shines through in a subtle, quiet confidence. Ahh, anyways the wrap looks wonderful too. I’ve made chapati before but it didn’t puff up like yours. 😉 Will have to try yours!

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

      Hello Katie, wonderful to hear from
      You. I’m so glad that you like the post, and that you can relate.

      I think generally when we start to,’let go’ we feel happier. You know when we are young we are told things like, ‘don’t compare yourself to others’, but nobody ever tells us why. But I’ve learned that when we continuously measure ourselves and see everything as winning or failing it breeds bad energy, self-destructive energy, stunting and limiting and hindering energy and energy that does not make us happy. So I agree with you, let’s be kinder and gentler to ourselves and others.

      Katie I used bread flour for these wraps and not Chappati flour so they’re tougher and thicker and puff nicely. I hope you do try this recipe and enjoy it xx

      • Katie @ Whole Nourishment February 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

        Yes, I keep in mind something I heard from a speaker once: comparison is the biggest source of unhappiness! Thanks for the flour info, I’ll make note.

  5. Joanne February 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Such a great post. People make all kinds of crazy assumptions like that and it can be annoying…but good that you just let it roll off you!

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks Joanne,the world looks like what we think in our heads eh x

  6. theundergroundgourmet February 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    The recipes and the statements “Then the questions followed at work, ‘do you wear a headscarf at home?’ No, I’m Hindu. ‘Do you make samosas?’ I’m 21; I go out with my friends. ‘Are you having an arranged marriage?’ I’ve got a boyfriend.” are absolutely to the point. Cheers

    • Deena Kakaya February 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

      Glad you like this post, funny works isn’t ir

  7. Priyanka February 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    Love the Post , something I can relate to :)..the recipe is great too,absolutely inviting cant wait to try it

    • Deena Kakaya February 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      Hi Priyanka, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with me that you can relate to what I describe in this post. Also glad you like the recipe. Please do stay connected. X

  8. Elizabeth Mars February 8, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Love the way you’ve used bean curd skin with Indian spices.

    • Deena Kakaya February 8, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for your comment. Bean curd skin adds wonderful texture and bite to this recipe x

  9. matchamochimoo February 8, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Hi Deena, love to see your blog, it is a wonderful blog that I like a lot, lots of the recipes I totally adored, can I have a try? Thanks for your kindness to share! 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 8, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Hello, thank you so much for your kind and generous words. I’m very glad to learn that you have enjoyed reading my recipes, I would be delighted got you to try them.

  10. easytocookmealsblog February 9, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Hi! It is my first time here. I like your perspective about failure. I did not see failure as you see it. When I fail , I saw it as a weakness that is why I am miserable right now because things are not going where I planned them to be. Thanks for your insight. It made me feel a little better.

    • Deena Kakaya February 9, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Hello, thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m glad my post made you feel better. I hope you will soon find your joy

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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