I know I've been MIA for the last few months -- moving sure can be hectic! But I've mastered my new kitchen and learned to make LOTS of yummy things that I'll be posting (along with photos!) It's amazing what one can learn in 2 months, eh?
I'll start the spring/summer food season with a fresh classic: spring rolls. In my egg roll adventure, which I'll elaborate on soon, I had a crisis in the grocery store. There were no egg roll wraps to be found. I wasn't going to let that defeat me, so in scouring the Asian foods section, I found "spring roll skins". Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get home and try them out!
Spring roll skins are interesting things. They come in a plastic round container and reminded me a bit of those big lenses we would play with in science class. In my initial attempt, I tried to fry the spring rolls. It wasn't a complete disaster but came close -- because the skins are so fragile and damp, they tend to bubble and pop in oil. I wound up double wrapping my rolls, which tasted fine but had a rather sticky texture.
Speaking of which, these skins can be super adhesive, so work with them with wet hands. The best way to prepare them is to get a cake pan or large skillet with hot (not boiling) water, and immerse the skins individually for about 15 seconds. Take them out, and you're ready to roll!
BASIC VEGGIE SPRING ROLLS:
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
~ 1/2 lb of tofu, cubed
1 grated carrot
1 nest mung bean threads (also known as sai fun, check Asian markets or the Asian foods section of your grocery store)
1c cooked sushi rice (optional)
1-2 tbsp salt to taste
*note - I like to keep some filling in a tupperware container ready-made, so chances are good you'll have some leftovers here. They can be frozen if you don't plan to use it up within a few days.
Take the veggies and bean noodles and lightly steam for a few minutes to soften. Combine your filling ingredients in a large bowl with a fork, you may want to chop the noodles into 3-4 sections to make this easier. With your prepared spring roll skin on a flat surface, put a few tablespoons of filling in the center of the skin. Take the left edge of the skin and fold over to the right -- imagine the filling is a "baby" and you're tucking it in. Fold the top and bottom ends toward the center, and roll the rest of the skin to the right.
photo courtesy of Jolinda Hackett
I recommend serving these fresh with tamari on the side, but any kind of sauce will do. Photos and nutritional info coming soon!