Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Mofo Stardate 14 : Roll with it baby!

So, lets talk Spring rolls (no, not old 80s songs as implied by the title).  So, these were made at the direction of my wife, who, I might add, likes Spring rolls.  A lot.  Particularly the ones from a certain Thai place we happen to currently frequent.  Truth be told, I do to, so it's not like I'm complaining here; except when she eats all any of mine.

What we were really going for here was a raw roll, or at least mostly raw, in that once made, we wouldn't actually cook the rolls.  As it turned out, some of the ingredients in these were cooked, but the roll itself and the accompanying dippin sauce were raw.

You'll need:

1 pkg of Spring roll wrappers.
There are so many varieties of these I can't begin to tell you which ones to buy specifically, but you want ones that are for all purpose use, not frying.  Generally, the frying only ones are the "rice paper" kind, and the general purpose ones are wheat based.  You can also get them in many shapes and sizes.  The particular ones I used this time were dried triangular Vietnamese wrappers.   Next time I have a batch of frozen larger square ones to use.

 Something large enough to hold the wrapper so it can soak in

As for the filling:
This time around I used shredded Napa cabbage (1 whole head)
shredded raw carrots
some pre roasted green beans
a lightly toasted combination of 1/4 cup of each of the following (6-7 minutes in a 350 oven)
Amaranth, sesame seeds, ground up cashews and ground up walnuts
If you want to leave these raw, I'd swap the amaranth for Hemp or Flax seed instead.  Totally up to you, I just chose these because they are mild in flavor.
The assembly table...

To make a roll, soak the wrapper in the water for about 15 seconds, until it gets soft.  Don't leave it in too long or else it'll turn to mush.  Also, once you take it out of the water it will continue to soften until it starts to dry, so don't worry if it's a little stiff when you take it out.
Lika dissa...

Add the filling ingredients at the bottom, being careful not to over stuff.  For these wrappers, you'll notice i put everything in the middle at the bottom of the larger rounded edge.  This gives you the ability to fold the sides over before you finish rolling in the vain hope that your filling won't fall out of the ends when you pick it up or bite it.  I used about a tablespoon each of the cabbage and carrots, added 1 or 2 beans, then a tsp or 2 of the seed and nut combo.

The order does.....not matter

Once you get everything added, roll up by first lifting the bottom up and over the stuffing, then pulling it back to tighten it up and get it started.  Fold the ends over toward the middle, making sure to tuck the wrapper over the filling.  You want to fold it once, then go back and pull the little flap that's left over into the middle too.  It's hard to explain, but once you do it a few times, you'll see what I mean.  If everything falls out, don't panic, just start over.  If the wrapper tears, just get a new one, no big deal.  The art of making these is something that takes patience and practice, so just hang in there and you'll get it.  For reference, the first time I made rolls, I put the ingredients on the wrong end and couldn't for the life of me figure out why they wouldn't roll up correctly.  It's all about the skills.

I couldn't take pictures and roll at the same time... so work with me here!

Finish rolling by using your index fingers in the middle, and your middle fingers on the ends, and roll it up, keeping it taught, but not so tight it tears.  You can feel the wrapper stretch as you roll, and that's ok.  Once you reach the top, make sure to gently press the little pointed part down so that it will bond to the rest.  Place it on a cookie sheet to sit for a few minutes, so that the wrapper sticks to itself and seals up the roll.  Were you going to fry them, that would be the time, but as I said we chose not too.

1 down.. 4 bajillion to go
After I ran out of beans, I switched to shredded broccoli slaw.  I let them sit for about 10 minutes (after I made the last one) before serving them.  In the end I stopped because I ran out of wrappers.  As you can see I did get quite a few done.  After they sit, they will be a little gummy, but they won't stick to your mouth when you eat them.  With all the crunchy veggies inside, the texture of the wrapper gets lost pretty easily.

These ones have peanuts and soap in them!!!!
If you can name that show.. you win a cookie.
Somewhere in there I made the dippin sauce.

Raw Nut dipping sauce
1/2 cup raw almond butter
2T Tamari
1/4 cup water
1T of Rice Vinegar
a few dashes of Sriacha (or Asian chile sauce)
tsp of garlic powder
tsp of date sugar

I whipped this up in a bowl with a whisk for a minute or so.  If you like yours thick like, leave out a tablespoon of the water.  This was pretty thick to begin with, so experiment a little with what works best for your desired consistency or flavor.  One idea I have is swapping the Tamari with Coconut Aminos...

That's right..I'm awesome.  The pan on the right has the string beans, broccoli slaw on the left.  It didn't matter..for them.
All was eaten with great fervor by the wife and I.  C to her credit tried one, but didn't like the wrapper, so she got something else to eat instead.  As far as the filling goes, you could really use about anything.  Any crunchy item works well as the base, so any cabbage, or crunchy raw veggie is good (oooooo, I wonder what shredded jicama would be like in these!!!).  Rice noodles would work too, just make sure to soak them first to soften them.  We would have added avocado to ours, but ours were bad and so we missed out on that.  The great part is that since these aren't cooked, you don't have the issue of things releasing water and making the roll soggy, so you can use mushrooms, and the like.  I know I used some cooked ingredients, but I'm labeling these as raw because it's very easy to make them that way.  I liked the idea of lightly toasting the seeds and nuts for extra flavor, but it's certainly not required.  Go crazy, I won't tell.


rach said...

I will go crazy and eat all of the rolls.

They are zomgmazing.

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

I seriously need those spring rolls in my belly.