Spring Roll & Peanut Sauce

EPISODE 35

These are the counterpart to Chinese fried spring rolls. They hail from Vietnam, and are made by soaking rice paper, and filling them with fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. They’re light and fresh, and the creamy, salted peanut sauce complements them beautifully. These spring rolls transport well in saran wrap, but they must be eaten within 24 hours.

Ingredients – Spring Rolls
  • ½ large carrot julienned
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1½ tbsp (which is 4½ tsp) seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 thinly sliced English cucumber
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Large bunch of mint
  • Medium bunch cilantro/coriander, just the leaves
  • 16oz/454g package firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ½ tsp sriracha
  • 250g vermicelli noodles
  • Rice paper
Instructions – Spring Rolls

Mix together the carrot, ginger, and rice vinegar. In a separate bowl, mix the cucumber and salt. Make sure to drain off the water the cucumbers release. Let the carrot and cucumber macerate while you prepare the other ingredients.

Prep mango and put into its own bowl. Pick mint leaves off the stalk, and combine with a medium bunch of cilantro or coriander; leaves roughly chopped.

Slice tofu into half cm pieces. Cook in a small amount of oil until both sides are lightly golden.
Drain any excess oil from tofu, and add hoisin sauce and sriracha. Mix well. Cut the pieces of tofu in half along the longest side and set aside.

Boil vermicelli noodles until softened. Stir occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.

Soak one sheet of rice paper in a dish filled with warm water. Although the rice paper comes in square and circular formats, you want to buy the largest circular rice paper available when you’re making spring rolls. This will make rolling them infinitely easier.

Make sure the dish is large enough to accommodate the rice paper. Use your fingers to run along the edges of the rice paper in the water. The rice paper will start to soften. Once they’re pliable and slightly gelatinous (but not so pliant that they tear in your hands when you pick them up), remove them from the water. Place them on a counter or cutting board. Avoid placing them on a dishcloth or a paper towel though since the rice paper needs to remain wet.

Now it’s time to layer the ingredients. Keep in mind that the item you put down first will be visible when these are rolled up. My order was tofu, mint and cilantro, carrots, cucumber, scallions, nice noodles, then mango, but you can layer them however you want. You can also begin with a piece of de-ribbed lettuce or you can remove the tofu and vegetables and do a sweet version with pineapple, orange segments, and strawberries. It’s up to you!

You want to make sure to keep your ingredients in a line in the middle of the rice paper with a good inch and a half of space on each perpendicular side. Fold the two sides perpendicular to your line, then roll the rice paper over your ingredients. Tuck and roll again. It will seal itself. For a demonstration of how to fold the spring rolls, follow the link to my video.

If you’re doing this Venn diagram style, soak two sheets of rice paper at once, then lay them so they overlap significantly (by around ⅓). Proceed with the instructions listed above.

Ingredients – Peanut Sauce
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (chunky, all natural, unsalted)
  • 3 tbsp hoisan sauce
  • ½ tsp sriracha
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
Instructions – Peanut Sauce

Whisk everything together until smooth. If you’re using chunky, all natural peanut butter, this shouldn’t be a problem. If your peanut butter isn’t amalgamating with the other ingredients, put the works in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir again, and do another 20 seconds if necessary.

This peanut sauce keeps beautifully in the fridge for 2 weeks. Just pop it in the microwave to loosen up before using. Any leftover sauce is amazing with dumplings, rice noodles, or as a sauce for your next tofu stir-fry.

Enjoy!

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