Thursday, January 30, 2014

spring rolls

Spring rolls are kind of perfect.  You can make just a few or a bunch, you can throw them together last-minute, and you can fill them with anything you have on hand.  Oh, and they are delicious.  Here's how I made them for a quick weekend lunch.

Spring rolls

Spring roll wrappers
4 ounces thin round rice noodles (I use Dynasty Maifun rice sticks, which are available at my regular grocery store)
1 block extra firm tofu
1 bell pepper
2 carrots
1 cucumber
1 avocado
Canola cooking spray
Lettuce leaves, bean sprouts, and any other vegetables, if desired
Spring roll dipping sauce (recipe follows, or use any sauce you prefer)

Preheat oven to 375°. Drain tofu, and place block on a cutting board. Cover with a paper towel, then rest another cutting board on top. Place something slightly heavy, like saucepan, on top. After about 5 minutes, remove the weight and pat the tofu dry. Slice the tofu into thin slices about an inch wide.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Place the tofu slices on the pan, and spray the tops lightly with the cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bottom is golden but not crunchy, then flip each piece and bake for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, soak the rice sticks according to package directions. Slice the bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and avocado into thin strips. 

When the tofu is done, remove it to a plate and set up your assembly station. You'll need a smooth, clean surface, and all your fillings lined up. Pour a small amount of water into a shallow dish that is big enough to fit a spring roll wrapper. Place a wrapper in the dish of water, making sure it is completely covered. After 4 seconds, remove it to your workspace. The wrapper will still feel a little hard, but it will soften up after a few more seconds. Place your fillings on the bottom half of the wrapper. I like a slice of tofu, a slice or two of each vegetable, and a small amount of rice sticks in each one. Fold the sides of the wrapper in. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the fillings, being careful to keep everything tight without tearing the wrapper, and roll the rest of the way. Continue soaking and filling one wrapper at a time until your fillings are gone. Makes about 12 rolls.

Spring roll dipping sauce

3 tablespoons peanut butter (any kind will do; I used Jif creamy, but I also like it with natural crunchy peanut butter)
1/2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl.  Adjust to taste. Garnish with peanuts if desired.

recipes and text by Kathleen, photos by Tamsen

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