Monday, March 21, 2011

Fresh Spring Rolls with Spicy Tofu, Carrots, Cabbage, and Basil with a Peanut Dipping Sauce

Total Time: about 30-40 minutes, depending on how awesome you are at rolling spring rolls (I am not awesome at this so it took me a bit longer). 
Makes 6 spring rolls 

Ingredients:

Rice Paper Rolls:
1/2 lb extra firm tofu, drained and weighted to press out excess moisture
¼ C soy sauce
2 tsp Sriracha, or to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
about 1 C shredded Napa cabbage (ribs removed)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
6-12 basil leaves (1 per roll, or more if they’re small)
6 rice paper wrappers, plus a few extra, in case some tear

Dipping sauce:
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp creamy peanut butter
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/3-1/4 C water

Procedure:
Pat the tofu dry and cut into 2 ½ by ½-inch sticks. Combine in a bowl with soy sauce, Sriracha, and freshly ground black pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. (You can let the tofu marinate while you chop the vegetables and such.)

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is well browned on all sides. Transfer the tofu to a paper-towel lined plate to catch excess liquid. Set aside.

Moisten a rice paper wrapper (until pliable but still a bit tacky) and lay flat on a cutting board, countertop, or plate (here are some great directions for wetting and rolling the wrappers). Place some shredded cabbage in the center of the wrapper toward the edge closest to you. Top with some carrot matchsticks, a few pieces of tofu, and a basil leaf or two. Roll the bottom of the rice paper wrapper over the filling and turn over a single 180-degree turn. Fold over the sides of the wrapper, then continue to roll up the spring roll. Set on a serving plate. Continue with the remaining 5 rolls and set aside while you make the dipping sauce (These can be made a day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before eating.)

For the sauce:
In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the sesame oil, then add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened. Transfer the shallot, garlic, and any leftover oil to a medium bowl. Add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, red pepper flakes, and enough water to make as thin or thick of a sauce as you’d like. Whisk all ingredients together and dip away!

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