Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

April 20, 2013

We wanted to try to recreate a dish that we had recently. In order to do so, we needed to go to the Asian Market downtown because the commissary didn't have one of the items that the recipe called for. We thought we were being so smart and got ready early so that we could go buy the item and get back home in time to make lunch. Yeah right. We realized once we got to town that we were too hungry to wait. Oh well. Moe's for lunch and it was delicious. The person making our tacos, quesadillas, and nachos asked if we were all vegetarians. Why? Because my daughter ordered a tofu and black bean taco. Ha.

After lunch, we headed to the store. I found the spring roll wrappers that I needed. I also scored something that we used to eat in Hawaii but haven't seen in stores since we moved away years ago: enoki mushrooms! Honestly, I think the reason that I like them so much isn't due to their flavor. It is because they are so cute. Ha. They are long, skinny, small, white mushrooms. If you were to imagine a meadow of mushrooms blowing in the breeze....yeah, it would be these guys.

My hubby had to work this evening so we decided to make the spring rolls right when we got home so that they would be ready for him to pack for his dinner. Ok. Here comes the kicker. Are you ready? We made TOFU spring rolls. Let me start off by saying that my hubby and I do not like tofu. Well, maybe we have never really given it a chance. Our kids love it but we had no idea how to prepare it. About two weeks ago, we went to a cooking class presented by a couple who own a restaurant  that has amazing food. They import ingredients from all over so that they can create the best dishes. Anyway, the class was only about tofu. They made smoothies, roasted vegetable tofu scramble, chocolate mousse tofu pie, tofu parmigiana, tofu orzo pasta salad, fried tofu, and vietnamese style tofu spring rolls. It completely opened my eyes for tofu. Now if only we can use their inspiration and actually make something with tofu at our house!

They gave us basic recipes (no amounts) at the cooking class. We took her recipe and altered it to fit what we wanted to include. We bought extra firm tofu. Wow. It was only 99 cents! Tofu needs to be drained, rinsed, and then pressed in order to get all excess liquid out of it. My hubby stuck it between two tupperware lids, rubber banded the lids together, and put it in a big tupperware container to catch the water. We put it in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours. Pat the tofu with paper towels. He chopped it up small and cooked it in a little oil until golden brown. Meanwhile, I got to work on the veggies. I julienne cut carrots, cucumber, green onion, red onion, and napa cabbage. We also used the enoki mushrooms and some chopped cilantro.

The next step was to make the sauce. A little sauce goes into each spring roll and the rest is used as a dipping sauce. Oh no. She didn't give us amounts. I figured that this would be where I mess up our spring rolls. I decided to just go with it and mix the ingredients at a ratio that I hoped would work. I used 1/2 tablespoon of chopped garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of minced ginger, 6 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce, 4 tablespoons of fish sauce (don't let the name scare you!), 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Ok, so now how in the world do you turn a spring roll wrapper that comes in the package super hard, turn into a pliable wrapper? Run warm water over it for just a few seconds on each side. Then we set it down on the counter and you need to give it a few more seconds to finish softening up. We ran our fingers over it (like you are smoothing it out) and you could tell when it was soft enough to roll. We layered on our veggies, tofu, and sauce on the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper. Roll the wrapper (away from you works best) one full roll and then tuck in the sides and continue to roll all the way up. I took a picture of it before we started rolling so you could get an idea of how much filling to use. Serve them up with the sauce and some sushi ginger. If you are going to put them in the fridge, cover them with a damp paper towel and then cover with cling wrap.

The verdict? They were delicious! I can't believe that we made tofu, that it was delicious, and that I want to make it again! You don't even notice the tofu once you have the flavor of the veggies, cilantro, and sauce. I wouldn't change a thing about our recipe. My sauce rocked! My son wasn't real fond of them. He said he liked them but he would rather eat leftover spaghetti for dinner. My daughter loved them. She already asked me to make them again tomorrow. I can't wait to hear how my hubby liked them. The thing with spring rolls is that you are only limited by your creativity. We could make these with crab or shrimp. We could make them strictly veggie. I'm still not sure if I want to bite into a big chunk of tofu. But I'm definitely ready to try another recipe with hidden smaller pieces! Bring on the Tofu.

No comments:

Post a Comment