Category Archives: Vegetarian

LWOM: Kimchi Pancakes, Okonomiyaki (and Other Things Tacky, From Sam-I-Am)

I’m not Sam–but take a look!

Sam-I-am is in this book.

I’m sure you all know how Sam-I-am…

Loves a good dish of green eggs and ham.

But the question to ask,

We must take to task!

It’s not such a crime…

We’ll ask, “Do pancakes buzz?”

(But that doesn’t rhyme!)

(Well now it does.)

Would they

buzz over coffee?

(Try feeding them toffee!)

Or would they

buzz o’er papers?

(If you paired them with capers.)

Do they sound a bit tacky?

(Just like okonomiyaki.)

But what could that mean?

(We hope it’s nothing obscene.)

Are you sure that’s a pancake?

Why, what else could it be? 

It’s not a waffle

or a donut

or a pig

or a tree.

(And better still, we think it’s made of kimchi!)

So whether or not these pancakes do buzz

or chuckle

or snarfle

or gigglerooruzz,

And whether they’re made of red clouds

or green bean,

Have some okonomiyaki–

(BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?)

So now we conclude without really concluding

Our noggins confuzzled and our parents deluding.

Here was the tale of our pancakes a-buzz.

But we know you will love them–

At least, Sam-I-am sure does.

This post is part of the Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt (LWOM) series here at Wallflour Girl, where Ala takes a popular or classic literary character and uses him/her/it to tell a story about her recipes.  Ala is an English literature graduate student with a strong interest in children’s literature, Victorian lit, and everything in between, beyond, bubbly, or burgundy. Ala does not own the rights to any of these characters or original literary texts, although she does own pancakes that are neither pigs nor trees. This series is intended to offer you a glimpse into her world through our shared love for food. Please let Ala know what you think of these stories–she’d love to hear what you think (with a smile and a wink).

Thank you all for your wonderfully kind comments about the first installment of Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt with last week’s Pooh article! They touched my heart, and I hope these stories continue to return the favor.

Kimchi Pancakes
Yield: 1 medium pancake
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chopped kimchi
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons kimchi juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Lightly oil a medium-sized pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  2. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves a good bake and a kimchi pancake!

Okonomiyaki

Yield: 1 medium pancake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 bellpepper, chopped
  • Other vegetables (your preference)
  • Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and water, and whisk until smooth. Add egg and salt; stir in until just incorporated. Do not overmix, or your batter will become tough.
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat up a small amount of oil and stir-fry onions until they begin to become translucent. Add remaining vegetables and stir-fry until cooked through. (You can use most any vegetable–or other ingredient–that you fancy.) Add cooked vegetables to batter and fold in.
  3.  Lightly oil a pan over medium heat, then pour batter into heated pan. Cook on one side for approximately 1 minute, until the bottom is cooked through and you can lift it easily from underneath with a spatula. Flip and continue to cook for an additional minute, until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Top with mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.
  5. Serve to Sam-I-am, who loves all things tacky (especially okonomiyaki).

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Filed under Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Mediterranean Couscous and Kashk E-Bademjan

Happy belated Mid-Autumn Festival!

To celebrate, we went Greek. Which makes no sense if you don’t think about it–but if you do think about for just the teeniest bit, it starts to make a little sense.

…And if you do happen to find that nugget of sense, please let me know what it is, because I haven’t thought of it quite yet.

Last night I invited over the new recruits for our program (hooray, fresh blood!) who live in the same graduate student complexes as me. Mind-melting weather aside–a whopping 95 degrees in the dead of night–our motley crew really was a melting pot that made me glad I’d pulled my dishes so many different cuisines. We chatted over couscous and Kashk E-Badjemajan (a Persian eggplant and fried onion dip), Chinese garlic eggplant and honey “walnut” tofu (I used tempeh because one of the guys had a nut allergy), homemade sweet bread and cucumber salad. And of course, we had moon cakes.

Flour Power: I first ran into Kashk E-Bademjan in a Persian restaurant and just needed to make a copycat recipe…and now that I’ve done it, it feels great eating this scumptious dish in the comfort of my own kitchen! Next time you go out and have a great dish, go home and do some research, or go straight to your kitchen and give it a try if you’re feeling bold. You never know what you might come up with!

Do you know how absolutely terrifying it is cooking for somebody with nut and dairy allergies? I wouldn’t touch anything with nuts in them for the entire day (ever hear the story of the guy who died kissing his girlfriend, who had eaten peanut butter the day before? Holy. Cripes.), and I shoved anything with dairy in it to the wayyy back of my fridge so I wouldn’t accidentally, you know, use it.

That being said, I love challenges. It was a vegan sort of night in the household.

So when are you coming over so I can have an excuse to cook like this again? I’m already bored of the stuff in my fridge, and it’s only been…about 12 hours.

Although that might be because I’ve already finished all of the leftovers–they were pretty darn good.

I just realized I was going to offer you some, too. Sorry. None for you.

I think the highlight of my night was when one of the girls said we should do this often, and a guy responded, “We should do potlucks!”

A guy. In my department. Wants to do potlucks.

It’s like we’re blood siblings or something.

Oh, and they know what Sailor Moon is. And they want to watch the 2013 release of a new season with me.

I have a feeling I’m going to like this new crew very, very much.

What’s your go-to dish(es) when you have a potluck or dinner? Feel free to link me up!

Happy reading, and happy eatings!

Mediterranean Couscous (Vegan-Friendly)
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dried whole wheat couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or apple cider vinegar (any mild or fruity vinegar variety will work well)
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cashews or peanuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, then cover with lid and allow to steam for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and cumin. Add cucumber and tomatoes, and toss until completely coated.
  2. Fluff finished couscous with a fork, then add to the liquid mixture. Add raisins, nuts, and cheese as desired, then toss all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Kashk E-Bademjan (Eggplant Fried Onion Dip)*

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, diced into small chunks
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons soy yogurt (see note)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat up oil and start frying onions. When they begin to brown, add eggplant and continue frying until eggplant is completely tender, and onions are caramelized. Set aside to cool briefly.
  2. Set aside some of the fried onion (for garnishing); place the rest of the mixture, as well as the soy yogurt, into a food processor. Pulse until the eggplant and onion is still chunky but relatively paste-like. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop out from food processor and garnish with reserved onions, as well as a drizzle of yogurt. Serve warm and enjoy!

*Note: This appetizer traditionally contains whey, the liquid byproduct of yogurt. Since my friend is allergic to dairy, I substituted a small amount of soy yogurt for the whey.

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Filed under Appetizers, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Tempura Mushroom Sushi Roll

Warning: This post contains variable degrees of geekiness that may be unsuitable for some acculturated persons. Continue reading at your own discretion. Those with posh taste, a preference for late nights with sophisticated glasses of swirled cognac, and/or an inexplicable aversion to to Nintendo game systems (i.e. stalwart Playstation fans) should take extreme caution in reading the following content.

I love playing with my food.

Now, I’m not talking about the making-mashed-potato-and-gravy-volcanoes or broccoli forests kind of playing with my food. No siree, you can bet your bonny buttons my mom taught me better than that.

I am huge, however, on playing mental games with my food.

No, I don’t psychologize my celery or wax poetic about my peas, if that what you’re thinking.

I do, however, love making associations. (I should probably go back to doing that at some point.)

So let’s talk about mushrooms. I made some on Thursday for our gals’ book club night out to see an in-canyon theater performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream. I always use the fact that I’ve never seen/read this play as a great “Never Have I Ever…” item with my literature crew, but I guess I’ll have to find a new one now.

I’ve never ordered delivery takeout before. Does that count?

Anyway, we’re talking about mushrooms.

Remember this oversized shroom-head? If you’ve ever mashed an A button, cursed your friends for sending out an untimely lightning bolt in the middle of a race, or been inspired with paralyzing fear at the sound of an approaching spiny shell as the finish line looms into view…you’ll know who I’m talking about.

Yup. That’s Toad, the useless light-weight eunuch with the vocal range of a high soprano.

He loses a balloon in battle mode when he gets rammed by anyone by Yoshi (the other light-weight). A bump from Bowser pretty much guarantees a visit from that obnoxious cloud-dweller who fishes you out from the water when you fall off the track.

He looks like more like a eunuch than any real-like eunuch does. I mean, how much more eunuch-like can you get, really?

He has only two catch-phrases that are worth remembering: “I’m the best!” and “Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow!”

Both of them are equally obnoxious.

He is what Aladdin would look like if he was a midget, if his head-wear contracted chicken-pox, and if he became a queen.

He is also my character from Mario Kart 64. Mine, mine, mine.

 Why? I have no idea. Probably because I got stuck with him as a very young kid playing with my older cousins. As we grew older, my self-esteem defense mechanisms kicked into overdrive and convinced me that I really just have an irrational love for the adorable eun–I mean, anthropomorphized mushroom. Not that the latter is much better.

Seriously, people get paid good money to come up with this stuff?’

They should start paying me. I come up with wacky, useless, and slightly eyebrow-raising stuff like that all the time. Decorative flower-shaped flour bags in 36 different garden varieties?

Yeah, we really need those.

In the meantime, though, you’ll really need these tempura mushroom sushi rolls for your next get-together, potluck, on-the-go lunch, or LAN party.

Tempura Mushroom Sushi Rolls

Ingredients:

For sushi rice:

  • 2 cups rice (standard measuring cup; not the cups that come with most rice bags)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar; you can adjust to taste
  • 1/3 cup vinegar (I used half rice vinegar, half white distilled); you can adjust to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • Water
  1. Rinse rice by swirling in a pot under running cold water. Pour out murky water, taking care not to pour out rice in the process. Repeat once more.
  2. Pour rice into rice cooker and cover with enough water to rise 1.5 cm above the rice. Cook rice in a rice cooker as usual. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, and salt. Pour over cooled rice and gently mix together until rice is completely coated. Your sushi rice is ready to go!

For tempura mushroom:

  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 egg, beaten (other 1/2 will be used in filling)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a bowl, combine water and beaten egg. Add flour and baking soda; mix until combined. Dredge mushroom slices in tempura batter and set aside on a plate. Cover another plate with a paper towel (this will be used to drain the oil after you finish deep-frying).
  2. Heat up oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat (oil should be about one inch deep). When oil is hot, carefully drop in mushroom slices and deep-fry until each side is golden. Turn off heat, remove mushrooms from pan, and set on the paper-toweled plate. When the mushrooms cool slightly, pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For sushi filling (you can substitute any ingredients depending on what you have on hand):

  • 1 1/2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cucumber or carrot, julienned
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Tamago (sweet egg): Heat up oil in a pan. Pour beaten eggs into pan, then sprinkle with sugar. When the bottom has begun to set and can be easily flipped, turn egg over and cook other side until set. Remove from pan.
  2. Onion: Heat up oil in pan. Cook sliced onions in pan until caramelized. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To arrange sushi:

  • 6 sheets nori (dried seaweed)

On a sheet of nori, gently spread a layer of sushi rice so that entire sheet is covered.

Line up your ingredients along one side of the covered nori in columns.

Starting from the end with ingredients, tightly fold the nori over all of the ingredients–it should form a tube shape. Roll the rest of the roll tightly as you would a sleeping bag, occasionally stopping to press down firmly on the roll so it will retain its shape.

If you have a sushi mat, great! If not, don’t fret–you can still do this no problem.

Make sure you’re nice and firm with your sushi, but don’t push so hard that the toppings come popping out!

Your sushi should have no problem sticking if you have enough sushi rice. Cut with a very sharp knife and serve as desired! I cute mine in half and served them masubi-style.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Rice, Vegetarian

Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Celebration and NEDFM Day 15: Lemon Meringue Pie

Do you know who my favorite superhero is?

No, it’s not Superman. It’s not Spiderman. It’s not Batman, or Catwoman, or the Incredible Hulk, or even Captain Underpants (although he’s pretty darn cool).

No, my favorite superhero is far less bionic than any of the above heroes. Heck, he’s even more useless than Aquaman, whose greatest superpower is his ability to talk to dolphins and company. Of course, he might’ve given Dory and Marlin a break if he’d made a guest appearance in Finding Nemo, but that would just be silly, plus we would’ve then missed out on possibly the best animated scene of all time (which, in case you didn’t know, is this–Ellen DeGeneres, I love you so much).

My favorite superhero? <<cue dramatic groundhog music>>

It’s…CAPTAIN OBVIOUS! Dah dah dah!

…Okay, yeah. Dud. I know. And no, you can’t throw a virtual tomato at me.

You can, however, throw a real tomato into your mixing bowl, because I have a real winner summer salad recipe for you here. (Ha!Not bad for a relatively contrived segue, eh?)

I made this for our in-celebration-of-Julia Child afternoon–we put on Julie & Julia and proceeded to feast in her name while singing praises of her and Paul Child’s love. Seriously. Those two were like, I don’t know, that really stubborn egg that you’re trying to separate but just will not separate. You know the one I’m talking about. The egg where the whites and yolk are like the same freakin’ entity. That’s what Julia and Paul Child were. An inseparable, heads-over-yolk in love pair.

My friend even made this from Julia’s desserts section (I’ll have to look up the name and get back to you on it, unless anyone recognizes it–it involves cherries!):

The Captain Obvious point was initially related, I swear. I was going to say that yesterday was Julia Child’s 100th birthday, and I’d be about the 7.2 millionth person to point it out, so I’ll just…not say it and assume that you already know.

But you have to try this salad! Okay? It’s in honor of Julia (she has a section on vegetable salads/marinades), but I made it using my own recipe, because I’m also a really stubborn egg and happen to like my version better. Sorry, Julia!

Cucumber Tomato Summer Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I used a combination of rice vinegar and white vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl (adjust vinegar-sugar ratios as desired). Place cucumbers and tomatoes in a large bowl; pour liquid over them and toss to coat. Leave in fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours, tossing every half hour or so to ensure that liquid soaks into all of the salad. Serve chilled.

By the way, on a completely unrelated note, aren’t these just the cutest measuring cups ever? My friend had them at her place when we were making our Day 15 themed entry together:

Aren’t they just the cutest? I love having Aquaman-level-useless cooking instruments on hand that just make me, admittedly, happy to an irrational degree whenever I spot them. It’s like:

Me: Ho hum, cooking in the kitchen, la la…

<<Spots the cute cat measuring cups>>

Me: …..

And then…

Me: LA LA COOKING IN THE KITCHEN WITH CUTE CATS HEE HEE <3 <3 <3

Ahrm. I also make sure I keep my peppy playlist blasting whenever I’m in the kitchen (my favorite stove-side tunes are the Glee soundtrack and anything from Tangled, Enchanted, or Disney in general). Whenever my roommate comes home and I have the radio blaring out from my room, I always have to put down whatever I’ve been using as a mock microphone (usually my spatula) and look like I’m really, really intent on, um, cleaning something. Or something.

Do you have any kitchen-time guilty pleasures or ways to get you in a good mood while you’re in the kitchen?

————————————————

And finally, last but not least in this monster posts of monster posts…our (belated) NEDFM entry!

THEMED ENTRY #15: LEMON MERINGUE PIE

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, National Eat Dessert First Month, Salads, Vegetarian

Tofu Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Honey Peanut Dipping Sauce

I still remember my cousin telling me a while back about how I would go trumpeting around when I was younger on my high horse, informing anyone and everyone in the family house that I was not going to eat animals when I “grew up”–because going vegetarian, obviously, was not something one simply did as a kid. It was a big deal. It was a responsibility. It was a way of stalling on something that I knew even at the tender age of nine and a half would mean lots of personal sacrifices. What can I say? I’m a natural procrastinator–born, bred, raised. My parents deny that they have anything to do with it, but of course you always have to take what they say with a grain of salt: for example, when I accused my mom of this incurable procrastinatory disease last week, she vehemently denied it–as she played a round of Mah-Jong matching tiles instead of doing her work.

So about three years ago, when I started seriously considering for the first time going “all-out vegetarian,” the prospect frankly frightened me a little bit. Located in the heart of good ol’ liberal Berkeley, I had been in a prime place for the slow food movement, and it wouldn’t be a typical day without receiving a polemic-laden flier on animal cruelty and the current state of factory farms, not to mention the abhorrent sorts of “regulations” that govern what makes it to our plates.

I was also reading Michael Pollan for the first time around then. He’s a prolific journalist and writer who has done some of the best investigative journalism–not to mention amazing reporting in general–about the current state of American attitudes towards food, the love-hate relationship we have with it today, and why we should care. I could go on and on about his profound work, but I feel like it’s more fair to let him speak for himself.

The two books you should know about if you’re at all interested in the topic of food reporting and culture are The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Not to go on a sappy sentimental tangent (which I realize I’m doing anyway), but these books changed my life. Seriously. You remember that line from Barrington’s Peter Pan where a fairy is born every time a new baby laughs for the first time? For every person who picks up a copy of Michael Pollan’s books, I’m pretty sure a new foodie is born. And not just your run-of-the-mill, Yelp-monsterific foodie. Foodies who are really passionate about not only what we eat, but why we care about what we eat, too. Foodies, I’d like to think, like me.

I seriously think Michael should just redirect all of his online book summaries and reviews to this page. Forget the canned words of praise from high and mighty editors of Tit-for-Tat Periodical–I’m practically doing his advertising for him, and with good reason. Did I ever tell you that I tried to get an interview with him for a journalism class I took? Yeah. I got a very sweet email from his secretary telling me that he was off being famous and doing book tours, which, you know, sounds like a perfectly good excuse to me.

His books thoughtfully discuss the problem that we living in developed countries face with food surplus–specifically, cheap, processed, and mass-produced food. “Food,” I should also say, with big fat quotation marks–know that Wonder Bread you get from the store? Ever wonder what goes into it, or why it’s wonder bread? Hmm…

Anyway, I said that I would let you read that one on your own, and I’m not keeping my promises. The point about all this is that after reading Michael Pollan’s thought-provoking work, I decided that I’d give it a shot.

For more than a year, I yoyo’ed between being a full-fledged vegetarian and not. It wasn’t that I missed meat at all–in fact, it’s always been relatively easy for me to skip it, to the point where my parents have come up with ingenious measures to slip in meat where I least expect to find it, like pork in my tofu or beef in my soup. But I am very much concerned about the unbounded and unscrutinized tyranny of factory farming practices, especially when we consider how much time people spend investigating and advertising other causes, like animal adoption and animal testing. (Not to say these aren’t great causes–they absolutely are–but when you consider how many Sarah Mclachlan commercials we see touting animal shelter adoptions, it seems cruelly unfair to think about how many born-to-be-slaughtered animals are dying in the most miserable, lonely conditions ever seen–or, rather, unseen.)

One of the things I love about Pollan’s books is his conclusion: unlike a lot of the look-at-us-we’re-so-green or the-only-interaction-I-will-henceforth-have-with-animals-is-petting-the-fluffy-chickens-I-raise books, Pollan concludes after all that it’s okay for him, personally, to be omnivorous. Sustainability and health are important, and making wise choices about our food is critical–but it shouldn’t be about limiting. Food is about living. You hear about people hating their jobs, or leaving their marriages–but food is a natural go-to for all of us when that happens. As the saying goes–and I subscribe heavily to this one–“Forget love–I’d rather fall in chocolate!”

Fast-Forward to Today:

Even now, three years later and in an entirely new city, I’m still struggling with the idea of vegetarianism. I no longer call myself a vegetarian–I am a “pseudo-vegetarian,” a “flexitarian,” whatever you want to call it. I’d like to think that I think about labels like “vegetarian” or “vegan” less, but the truth is that I don’t. I still feel guilty every time I go home and sit down to meat dishes with my family–it’s a huge part of my life and culture, and I realize that meat is still something that I eat because it’s associated with so many fond memories for me. I haven’t given it up entirely, even if I eat so little I could pass for a vegetarian by most lenient definitions.

I do, however, make a conscious effort to make smarter choices, like explaining to people about why I do what I do, as well as take more time to shop for food, prepare it, and share it. That’s how this food blog–like many other food blogs out there, maybe even yours–was born. I’m a tried and true foodie, or “the biggest foodie many of us know,” as my friend told me jokingly over dinner last night. But I don’t consider myself a foodie for foodie’s sake, or health’s sake, or even my own sake, as I do for awareness’ sake. People deserve to know, to share, to learn, and to learn to love learning about food. So that’s where I’m at now.

Of course, super-serious posts and thoughts also make me have a super-monstrous appetite, which is where this next recipe comes in handy. (I made it for a “healthy food” potluck while my friends and I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, and it went over like a maelstrom, blew everything out of the water. The boys brought pizza. Vegetarian pizza. Boys will be boys.)

Anyway, hope that’s enough food for thought for the moment–happy reading, and happy eatings!

The ingredients to a successful spring roll: rice wrappers, tofu, pickled carrots and daikon, vermicelli noodles, and lettuce.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Throw in the dried vermicelli noodles and cook until al dente (approximately 3-5 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a non-stick frying pan, heat up some oil and fry your tofu on all sides.

When you’ve finished preparing all of the ingredients, fill a medium bowl with hot water. Quickly dip in the rice wrapper so that all parts of it are wet, but be sure not to dip it so long that it gets soggy. It will continue to soften as you make the wrap.

Place the dipped wrapper on a plate, leaving about an inch or so hanging off the edge. (This will make it easier to pick up without ripping.) Layer your vegetable ingredients: lettuce, carrots, daikon, and cilantro. Make sure you leave at least 1 – 2 inches on each side for easy rolling.

Slap on your vermicelli noodles. Almost there!

Finally, add the grand finale–fried tofu! To roll: Carefully fold in the two flaps opposite each other on the plate (not the flap that’s hanging over the edge). These will be the ends of your roll. Then take the hanging flap and roll it tightly over the filling. The dampness of the rice wrapper should keep it sealed nicely together.

Ingredients for a fantastic honey peanut sauce! (Note about this peanut sauce: It is my absolute favorite sauce of all time. I make it for just about everything: sauteed rice noodles, vegetable stir-fries, appetizer dips…learn this one by heart and you’ll never be short on a great meal again!)

Tofu Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Honey Peanut Dipping Sauce

Yield: 12 spring rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • 2 – 3 oz. daikon, julienned
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (for tofu marinade)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (for tofu marinade)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (for tofu marinade)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (for tofu marinade)
  • A few leaves of cilantro, to taste
  • 4 oz. dried vermicelli noodles
  • 12 rice wrappers, 8-inch diameter
    For peanut sauce:
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup rice vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or any oil you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine distilled vinegar and white sugar. Place daikon and carrots in bowl to pickle; store at least overnight, or multiple nights if you can to let then soak up the flavor. (If you’re making this recipe on the day of the meal, don’t worry! Just cut up your carrots and/or daikon and include them in the rolls as they are, or give them a quick stir-fry to soften them up first.)
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add vermicelli and cook over medium heat until al dente-soft, or about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain noodles and set aside.
  3. Cut tofu into twelve slices and pat dry. In a medium, flat-bottomed dish, combine tofu marinade ingredients (soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, and red pepper flakes or chili sauce). Marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up oil and fry tofu until outer edges become crispy. Flip tofu when each side browns, making sure to brown the outer edges as well. When finished, remove tofu from pan and pat dry to remove excess oil. Set aside.
  5. Fill a medium bowl with hot water and gather up the rest of your ingredients. It’s time to assemble your spring roll! Quickly dip wrapper in hot water until all parts are wet. (Be careful not to dip too long, otherwise your wrapper will get soggy. It will continue to soften as you make your roll.) Place spring roll wrapper on a plate, leaving one edge hanging about one inch off the edge. Layer lettuce, carrots, daikon, cilantro, vermicelli, and tofu.
  6. Carefully fold up the two opposing edges that are completely on the plate. These will be the ends of your spring roll. Then grasp the side that is hanging over the edge and bring it over the fillings. Tightly roll the wrapper until your roll is completely sealed. Voila! It’s spring roll eating time.
  7. For the peanut sauce: Mix all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with spring rolls. Can be stored for up to 24 hours before flavors begin to meld in possibly funny ways.

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