Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spring Rolls with Chili and Ponzu Sauce

Wow, what a week. In September, I started business school and this past week truly lived up to expectations. We had class from nine to seven, even on Saturday, and loads of reading to do at home. Plus, it takes me two hours to get to school. And when I was riding the train I would think about the things I'd like to cook but when I got home at nine in the evening I simply couldn't be bothered...

Yesterday, Saturday, was the last day of this marathon. And you know how after your last day of something very exhausting you suddenly have lots of energy because you know you can sleep in the next day and relax? I finally had energy left to cook and I had a craving for spring rolls, something I last had years ago back in my omni days. Fatty fried foods give me a hard time so the challenge was to make them vegan and as fat-free as possible.

To fill them I used whatever I found in the fridge and pantry but I bet they'd be great with vegetables only. I'm thinking bean sprouts, carrots, and broccoli.

Ponzu Sauce

3 tblsp reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tblsp lime juice

This is a very simple version of my favorite Asian dipping sauce. It is almost not a recipe, too easy to be spelled out and yet too good to not mention it.

Spring Rolls

24 rice sheets for spring rolls (diameter ca. 6 inch)

3 carrots
3 scallions
1 cup Chinese cabbage in thin stripes
ginger garlic chili to taste

1/2 cup small TVP chunks
1/2 cup hot double-strenth vegan broth
1 tblsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

1 tblsp dark sesame oil

Reconstitute the rice paper in batches: let some water run over the sheets and place them on a wet kitchen towel. Mine took forever to soften so you might want to do this first.

Reconstitute the TVP chunks in the broth with the soysauce and the vinegar. Stirr once in a while to make sure the chunks a the top also get soaked. Cook them in a skillet for a few minutes. I'm not sure this is necessary but I didn't want to eat these raw.

Peel and shred the carrots and the scallions. Add them together with the cabbage to the pan and give them a quick sweat. Season generously with ginger (I was lazy and used the powdered version) or whatever strikes your fancy.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Place two sheets of softened rice paper on top of each other. Place some of the filling in a row in the center. Fold the sides over and then roll them up.

Lightly lightly coat the rolls with some sesame oil using a brush (or lightly spray them) and place them sealed side down on a sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until crunchy. Mine took 15 minutes but this will depend on your oven. Makes six rolls.

We had these with ponzu sauce and with sweet chili sauce I made (but so far have not managed to take a decent photo of).

I was really happy with how they turned out :-)

Serves 4 as starters or two as main course.

Fat-free depends on the use of fat-free ingredients.
Glutenfree depends on the use of gluten-free ingredients.


Vegetation said...

These look and sound great. And I LOVE the fact that they're oven baked and I don't have to mess around with frying them (shallow or deep). Mmmmm.

Anke said...

That's my favorite part about them too. I like deep-fried food, but a) I hate making it myself - the kitchen stinks, I need tons of oil, ... and b) I simply cannot digest deep-fried food. So I was thrilled about how well they turned out oven-baked.