Saturday night for dinner, I *attempted* to finally make spring rolls. I say *attempted* because I was none too pleased with the results--what I chose to stuff them with wasn't bad, but the actual wrapper and the process of rolling them left a lot to be desired. The inside-ingredients ended up being way too loosely packed, and they were difficult to eat. Needless to say, come Monday, I promptly looked on the internet for precise directions on how to roll them (here's a good tutorial). I didn't think it would be difficult, but MAN are soggy rice-papers difficult to manipulate.
Anyways, I ended up packing them with chinese vermicelli rice-noodles, shredded cabbage, lightly-steamed pea pods, mango, and avocado. I definitely liked the variety in the filling, but for some reason they weren't as aesthetically pleasing, taste-wise, as I'd wanted them to be, simply because they were difficult to eat. You can see them in all their flabby glory above. (I think next time I may use a couple wrappers for each roll, to give them a bit more backbone.)
I *DID* really like the thai dipping-sauce recipe that I concocted though, so I will share that here at least. It's kinda salty though, so you may wanna nab some of that nifty low-sodium soy sauce if you want to avoid a headache.
- 1/4 c. soy sauce
- 1/2 T. crunchy natural peanut butter
- 1 t. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 t. agave nectar
- 2 t. water
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Ground ginger, to taste (I probably used 1/4 t. or so)
Mix everything together. Duh.
To accompany the spring rolls, I finally decided to make the infamous General Tao's Tofu recipe from the VegWeb that I always hear people raving about. It looked so damn good on people's blogs, that I've been drooling over it for weeks. I was trying not to get my hopes up too high about it, since I tend to be slightly disappointed about things that get overhyped. But damn if people weren't correct.
For some reason I was expecting something a bit spicier and, um, tasting a bit more brown-sauce based (not sure why--I think it's just because General Tso's chicken/tofu is typically that way... spicy spicy), but this sauce was a bit more like a subtle sweet-and-sour sauce. Delightful though. And easy to boot. I was also pleased to note that it made for some DAMN good leftovers. I highly recommend.
- 1 box of firm tofu
- egg substitute for 1 egg plus 3 T. water
- 3/4 c. cornstarch
- vegetable (I used sesame) oil for frying
- 3 chopped green onions
- 1 T. minced ginger
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 2/3 c. vegetable stock
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 4 T. sugar
- red pepper to taste
- 1 T. white vinegar
- steamed broccoli
- 1 T. sherry (optional--I did not use it)
Drain, dry and cut tofu into 1 inch chunks. You can freeze tofu the night before to get a more chicken-like consistency, but it isn't necessary. (I pressed mine as well for about an hour/hour-and-a-half ahead of time.) Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add the additional 3 tablespoons water. Dip tofu in egg replacer/water mixture and coat completely. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cornstarch over tofu and coat completely. Watch out that the cornstarch doesn't clump up at the bottom of the bowl.
Heat oil in pan and fry tofu pieces until golden. Drain oil.
Heat 3 Tablespoons vegetable (or sesame) oil in pan on medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and vinegar. Mix 2 Tablespoons water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and pour into mixture stirring well. Add fried tofu and coat evenly.
Serve immediately with steamed broccoli over your choice of rice.
(Original recipe HERE)