Tag Archive | Asian cooking

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Growing up in a mixed culture home provided many advantages, one of which was a wide variety of foods and flavors.  From a very young age, I learned to enjoy many different types of dishes.  One of our favorites and one that isn’t eaten very often, is my Mom’s version of Grandma’s vegetarian spring rolls.

Be warned, these are not a low calorie food! However, for a once in a while treat, these are great to add to the weekend menu.

A food processor will speed up the process, but I have found from past experience that it chops the veggies much to small.  For me, hand chopping everything is relaxing for me and I can control the size of the cuts.

Eggrolls

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

1 small head of green cabbage

1 medium onion

5-6 whole carrots

1-2 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks green onion, sliced, including the white bulb

1 block organic firm tofu

small section of ginger root, chopped fine, optional

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional

about 3-4 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or big pinch kosher or sea salt

big pinch sugar

Begin first by cutting the tofu into small blocks and browning them so they don’t fall apart.  If you would rather they “disappear” into the eggrolls, then don’t brown them, just dump the cubes into the bowl and as you mix everything together, they will break up into smaller pieces and crumble.

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Finely chop the onion, green onion stalks, garlic and ginger root.  Place them in a big mixing bowl.

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Cut the cabbage, shred your carrots. Halve the celery down the middle of the stalk lengthwise and thinly slice so that the pieces are small and won’t cut through the wrapping as easily…

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At this point add the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or salt and big pinch of sugar. Let the mixture “marinate” for about an hour. You will see juice in the bottom of your bowl.  That’s when it’s ready to roll.

Fill a frying pan half-full with canola oil or other frying oil.  Make sure your oil is hot.  You want the egg rolls to fry almost immediately and not sit in the oil for very long.

I got so involved with making these that I forgot to take photos of rolling them!  So, please accept my apologies for that.  To wrap the egg rolls:

Take the egg roll wrapping and lay it like a baseball diamond on a clean surface. (Tip: keep the wraps covered with a damp dish towel so the air doesn’t dry them out while rolling.)

Place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle.  Fold the bottom up over the filling and roll once.  Fold in the sides to make and envelope. Pinching lighting, roll and then dip your finger in water and seal the flap.  Roll only enough to fill your pan.  I usually have 4 across the middle and 1 on each side for a total of no more than 6 in my pan.  Fry until brown and flip one time. I stand them on end in a colander with a paper towel underneath on a plate to drain as much oil as possible.

No worries if they break and the filling comes out.  It happens.  Those ugly ones you get to eat first!

Continue rolling until you are done.  This batch usually makes 1-1-1/2 packages of wrappings depending on which kind you use (grocery store vs. Asian market).

I’ve had friends vary out the stuffing with curried veggies and rice/potatoes! I’ve not personally tried it, but you can get really creative with these!

Serve with duck sauce, plum sauce, nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce), peanut sauce or just by itself. Great appetizer with rice and other Asian dishes.

To reheat and make them crispy – lay in a single layer on a baking dish and reheat in a 350F oven turning as they re-brown and re-crisp. Serve hot!

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Lime Cilantro Rice with Ginger

Always on the outlook for something new, full of flavor and light, this recipe was adapted from the one Pioneer Woman used in a recent episode. I just Asian-ized it by adding the ginger!

First, sauté half a large, finely chopped onion

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Add 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root and 1 garlic clove that has been crushed

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Add about 2 cups uncooked rice.  Brown it a little in the onion, garlic and ginger mixture to release the flavors of the rice.

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Add 2 – 2 1/2 cups broth, zest of 2 limes, juice of 1 whole lime. 

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Let simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.  Finely chop about 1-2 tbsp of fresh cilantro (or parsley if you don’t have it) and toss through the rice.

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Keeping the citrus theme, this dish would be great served with Honey Orange Chicken and Spring Rolls (recipe to come!).  Add a fresh side dish of tossed raw veggies with a lime dressing. Enjoy!