Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

(Almost End of) Summer Rolls

Posted September 3, 2008

Fresh Summer Rolls with Tofu and Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce
Makes approximately 12

The carrots, cucumber, and tofu can all be prepared a day ahead and stored, separately, in the refrigerator. The herbs are flexible here. Use just mint and Thai basil if you hate cilantro, or all mint if you can’t find Thai basil. Rice paper rounds can be found in the Asian section of some supermarkets – Whole Foods has them. They are about frisbee diameter. For the noodles, look for those that are about the width of angel hair pasta. Any thicker and it won’t turn out right.

12 rice paper rounds
3 medium carrots, cut into very thin matchsticks about 3 inches long

1 lg. “English” cucumber

4 oz. thin rice noodles

12 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into thin matchsticks, about 3 inches long

Cilantro leaves

Thai Basil leaves (substitute mint, if desired)

Blanch the carrots in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cut both ends off the cucumber. Stand it on one end and, avoiding the seeds, cut down the length of the cucumber. Keep turning it 45 degrees and making the same cut, then discard the seedy interior. Slice the four pieces into thin matchsticks, about 3 inches long. Set aside.

Place the noodles in a large heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Let stand 10 minutes, drain, and set aside.

Mix the cilantro leaves and Thai basil leaves in a small bowl.

Have all your ingredients ready in front of you. Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water and spread out a clean dishtowel on a work surface. Place one rice paper round in the water and allow it to soften for about 15 seconds. You want it slightly pliable but not mush. It will continue to soften once you get it out of the water. (If you leave it in for too long, it will become like plastic wrap and be difficult to work with.) Scatter a few cilantro leaves and a few Thai basil leaves over the surface of the paper. Starting about 2-3 inches from the bottom of the round, place a few pieces of carrot, then a few pieces of cucumber, then a few pieces of tofu, and then a small fingerful of noodles. Stack them one ahead of the other, not one on top of the other. Resist the urge to overfill until you get the hang of what is the right amount.

Fold the bottom of the circle over the filling and try to compress the filling a bit. Continue rolling, then fold the right and left side in, then roll up to the top. Roll it over on itself so the seam will stick. Continue with the rest of the papers and filling ingredients. Rolls can be made about 4 hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator, covered loosely with a damp paper towel.

Peanut-Hoisin Dipping Sauce
Adapted from
Everyday Greens
Makes about 1 cup

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp. rice vinegar

1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped

Heat the oil in a small saute pan and add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain
on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finely chop and transfer to a small bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir.

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