Run Bing 潤餅 and Spring Roll 春捲

Run Bing (photo by Tzushun Hsu)

Today is Qing Ming Jie (請明節), or Tomb Sweeping Day. For the last week or so, families in Taiwan have been gathering to bring offerings to the memorials of their ancestors. On this holiday, it’s folkloric tradition to avoid hot food. Run Bing (潤餅), or Taiwanese Spring Roll, is a customary dish. Families gather around a table and wrap fresh and lightly cooked ingredients in spring roll skins. The chosen fillings differ from family to family and region to region, but usually include sweet peanut powder, cilantro, cabbage, dried tofu, cucumber, and carrots.

On the occasion of Qing Ming Festival (清明節), I asked my friend Jonathan Wang, a chef and Taiwanese food expert, to develop a Run Bing recipe for Yun Hai. I was testing the wrappers in my home kitchen and made a video of the process. I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised. It’s not exactly what you’d get in Taiwan, but I felt like an active participant in the custom nonetheless. 

It’s charmingly simple - a slurry of wheat and water will take you very far.

This kind of Spring Roll skin is the key ingredient in Taiwanese Dan Bing 蛋餅 and that amazing dessert where three flavors of ice cream get wrapped up with cilantro and shaved peanut brittle (IYKYK). I highly recommend frying, you can do this in a shallow layer of oil and flip.

Recipe: Run Bing 潤餅

Don't let the length of this recipe scare you. Most of the steps are for preparing the ingredients. Prepping and making Run Bing is often a family affair, cutting down on the work. The wrappers are a breeze to make, and peeling the thin, stretchy crepes from the pan is immensely satisfying.

 

Yield

Makes 10 Run Bing 潤餅

Ingredients

Wrappers

  • 1 1/2 cup bread flour sifted 
  • 1 1/2 cup water        
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Fillings*

  • neutral oil
  • garlic
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pack (four squares) dried tofu (either plain or five spice)
  • 2 large carrots  
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 head cabbage (if possible, flat taiwanese but any variety will do)
  • 1 package Taiwanese peanut meal or 1 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • optional: lap cheong, pork belly or any other braised/stir fried proteins

*You can get creative with your filling. Pick up whatever is in season at the market add it to the mix. Leafy greens and sprouts can be used raw. Other veggies can be prepared simply (either stir fried, roasted, steamed or blanched) and seasoned to taste with salt, sugar, soy sauce, or white pepper. 

Seasonings

Procedure

Wrappers

Prepare batter

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour and salt. Whisk in water and beat vigorously until well combined and no clumps of flour are visible (alternatively, use stand mixer or electric egg beater on high. The batter should have the consistency of melted ice cream. 
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Prepare fillings while it is resting. You can begin preparing fillings while the batter is resting. 
  3. After batter has rested, give another stir and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Use a rubber spatula to scrape batter through sieve. 
  4. Prepare a large nonstick skillet and a pastry brush. Warm a large 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-low. You can test the temperature by dripping a drop of batter on the skillet. It is ready when the batter sizzles as it hits the pan but does not begin to brown. If the pan is too warm, remove it from the heat. Keep moving the pan on and off the heat to adjust the temperature.
  5. Once the pan is hot, lift pan off heat and use the pastry brush to apply a thin layer of batter to the bottom of pan. Use the brush to smooth out any thick spot and fill any holes. Return to heat and apply a second thin layer.
  6. Once the edges begin to curl up use a spatula or your finger to peel the wrapper up. Flip it over and let the other side cook for 20- 30 seconds. Avoid any browning or color as best as you can.
  7. Stack finished wrappers on a plate. If you are not using them immediately, wait until they have cooled and wrap the stack with plastic wrap.

Fillings

Egg Crepe (makes 4-5 crepes)

  1. In a bowl whisk together 6 eggs, 1 Tbsp rice wine or mirin, salt and white pepper to taste. 
  2. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a large nonstick skillet. 
  3. Pour in half egg mixture and rotate pan until a thin layer forms. 
  4. Once egg crepe sets, use a spatula to lift and flip the crepe and cook the other side for a few seconds.
  5. Wipe out pan and repeat for additional crepes. 
  6. Once egg crepes are cool you can roll them up and cut them into 1/4 inch ribbons.

Dried Tofu

  1. Slice tofu into 1/4 inch slices. 
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a wok or sauté pan and add tofu to the pan. 
  3. Season with salt and pepper or soy sauce to taste.
  4. Cook until golden brown and edges get crispy. 

Julienned Carrots

  1. Peel and cut carrots into 1/4 inch match sticks.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a wok or sauté pan.
  3. Stir fry carrots until tender. About 5 mins. 
  4. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Bean Sprouts

  1. Rinse and drain bean sprouts.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  3. Blanch bean sprouts in boiling water until tender. About 3 mins.
  4. Remove from water and drain.
  5. While still warm, season with salt and a tsp of sesame oil. 

Cabbage

  1. Mince two cloves of garlic.
  2. Remove core and cut cabbage into 1/2 inch strips.
  3. Rinse and drain cabbage.
  4. Heat 3 T of oil in a wok or sauté pan. 
  5. Add garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add cabbage to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat. 
  7. Add a splash of water and cover for one minute.
  8. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. 

Peanut Powder

  1. 1/2 cup peanut meal or 1 cup roasted peanuts pulverized in a food processor
  2. Combine with 2 t sugar

Cilantro

  1. Wash and dry
  2. Roughly chop 

Lap Cheong

  1. Slice on a bias into 1/4 inch discs
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a wok or sauté pan.
  3. Stir fry until edges begin to crisp and sausage is fragrant.

Additional Fillings

For additional fillings prepare protein or vegetable of choice simply by slicing thinly, blanching or cooking gently, and seasoning to taste.

Assembly

  1. Take one wrapper and spread on your sauce of choice. 
  2. Use small amount of each ingredient. Add wetter ingredients last.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and crushed peanut powder. 
  4. Fold the bottom of the wrap over the filling. Fold the two sides in towards the center. Roll to complete the wrap. 
  5. Repeat with your favorite combination of ingredients and enjoy!