Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vegetarian Spring Roll with Gluten-Free Option

It's chinese new year, Spring roll is a must have for a traditional chinese dinner. After spring roll is deep fried, the skin turns golden, the color and the shape of the spring roll represent a 'Gold bar'. For serving spring roll in chinese new year is to present 'Gold' to guests and wish all the guests to make more money in the coming year. And yes, everyone cares about money nowaday.. and chinese do cares about money way too much sometimes. In a more traditional chinese spring roll, the fillings aften contains pork and shrimp along with shredded vegetable. As for me, I opted for vegetarian version and tofu is used as potein. I have often bought my version of spring roll to potluck dinner and everyone often ask for the recipe. I am finally going to share it.

A typical spring roll wrapper is made with wheat; to make a Gluten-Free version, use vietnamese rice paper wrap instead. The Gluten-Free version is healthier since it's not fried. The fillings for both version is the same in exception of the wrapper. My version of the spring roll is really my version so I did not use the traditional ingredients that my mom would normally use in Hong Kong or my vietnamese friend would do in a more traditional vietnamese spring roll or summer roll.

People often think that it's time consuming to make spring roll. In reality, you will be surprised how easy it is. Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes, 1 hr of cooling time for fillings (optional but recommended)
Cook Time: 15 minutes

NOTE: It is the best to prepare the fillings early and let it cool and drained any liquid from the filling. The heat and the moisture will potentially break the wrapper. It is also important to fry the spring roll right after you wrapped it. In addition, the wrapper makes a lot of different in taste. If you are oversea, the wrapper that sell in supermarket tends to be thicker. If you have access to a oriental supermarket, get your wrapper from there instead, asian wrapper is much thinner so you don't taste too much flour. You can always find them in freezer section. So you will need to defrost it before using. Also, you can use any kind of vegetable for the fillings. But make sure to chop it up fine.

  • 1 package of spring roll wrapper or rice paper wrapper
  • 1 package of rainbow slaw or brocolli slaw (It can be found in salad session in supermarket)
  • 1 package of Tofu Cutlet or 5-spiced tofu or spice tofu or extra firm tofu - cut into 1" strip
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 1 package of Chinese Pickles Vegatable (Zhacai) or 1/2 cup of dill pickles - it's optional - cut into 1" strip
  • 2 tablespoon of Gluten-Free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chinese cooking wine or red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of  sesame seeds oil
  • 2 tablespoon of cooking oil, prefer olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar (dipping sauce)
  • 1 tablepoon of of GF soy sauce (dipping sauce)
  • some seseme seed oil (or hot oil if you prefer spicy)

  1. Heat Wok without any oil, cut the tofu and pickles into 1" strip and wash all vegatable and drained.
  2. When the wok is hot, cook bean sprouts and stir it until it heat through, about 2 minute. Note: Make sure to keep stirring to prevent stuck on the wok. Remove from wok and set aside.
  3. Put oil in the wok and gentle move the wok left and right to let the oil coats the bottom, put rainbow slaw and tofu and stir it for a minute, then add pickle and stir for another minute. 
  4. Add soy sauce, wine, salt, sugar, white pepper and stir it until the seasoning well blended into the vegetable; about 3-4 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the filling, you would like the vegetable still a little crunchy.
  5. Add the bean sprouts into the wok and stir until heat through about 1 minute or so. Taste the fillings and add more salt if necessory.
  6. Turn the heat off and add the sesame seed oil and stir the oil into the fillings.
  7. Put the fillings into a drainer and cool off.
Vegan Version:
  1. Pour Canola oil into wok, make sure there is enough to cover the spring roll when frying or use a deep fryer if you have one.
  2. Lay 1 spring roll wrapper in diamond shape on a flat plate, put 2 tablespoons of the fillings in the middle of the wrapper; make sure not to overstuff the wrapper, you would need to leave 1.5" on each sides in order to wrap the spring roll.
  3. Fold up the bottom of the wrapper. The bottom of the wrapper is the part that is closest to the filling. Fold this up over the filling and press down slightly.
  4. Fold both sides to the center so that the edge of both sides meet in the middle
  5. Hold the sides and roll the spring up until the other edge, use some water to bind the top close. Use more water if necessary to secure the side.
  6. Put the spring rolls into hot oil, make sure don't put too much spring roll in the wok at one time, make them in small batch. Fry the spring roll until it turn golden and dry it until some paper towel.
  7. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seed oil in a dipping bowl and serve immediately.
Gluten Free Version:
  1. Fill a large shallow bowl with warm water, put rice paper into the shallow bowl one at a time; otherwise, they will stick together. When the rice paper is soft about 15 second, remove from bowl and drained the water.
  2. Lay the rice paper wrapper in a dry clean cloth and follow step 2 -5 above. You would not need to use water because rice paper is naturally stick together
  3. Combine dipping sauce and serve immediately. 
Happy Cooking!

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