Sort of Raw Spring Rolls

It’s been a while since we’ve posted to our new blog. We’ve really just had several busy weekends in a row: went to Ocean City, DC Beer week and probably a weekend sitting around that felt really busy anyway. Still, Friday nights are our fancy nights. But without a lot of time to prepare, they’ve been a little less extravagant lately. We’ve also been working on some recipes that aren’t quite ready to share (stay tuned for eggplant schnitzel). This meal is from a couple weeks ago.

Amy’s brother and sister-in-law took us out to this awesome vegan restaurant, The Great Sage, a little while ago and we got a spring roll and Asian seaweed salad. Inspired, we tried making spring rolls ourselves.

We shredded cabbage, carrots, red onion, garlic, and cooked cellophane (bean curd) noodles. At the restaurant they also had thinly shredded beets, which was a nice addition for both color and flavor. We made a peanut sauce that was ok, but needs some work.

We disagreed on how we wanted the veggies prepared so we decided to compromise: one spring roll would have fresh veggies, one spring roll would have sautéed veggies and the other one would have half fresh, half sautéed. After preparing the veggies came the surprisingly fun, yet tricky part of the meal: rolling the veggies in the rice paper.

Luckily, moments before we started on this part of the meal, Rafi was talking on the phone to his friend Matt who works at a restaurant that makes spring rolls. He gave us a great tip: even though the rice paper packaging says to leave the papers submerged in water for ten seconds, we should submerge and immediately remove them to a wet plate for rolling, otherwise they become too fragile. We followed his advice and were careful to not overstuff our rolls. Aside from a couple of them that were a little too short and fat, the rolls looked great! We even drizzled some of the peanut sauce and piled some veggies on top to make them look, well, fancy.

Amy’s Note:

When sautéing the filler mixture, the noodles stuck to the pan. This meant fewer noodles in our rolls and more time spent scrubbing while doing the dishes! In the future, we will be sure to cook the noodles separately, or add them to the mixture at the end.

Rafi and I also both decided that we liked the combo filling (raw/sautéed) in the spring rolls the best. While the other ones were still tasty, the combination spring rolls provided a nice mix of flavor and crunch.

Rafi’s Note:

To assemble the spring rolls I follow a similar pattern to rolling a burrito.

  1. With all of the filling in a pile in the middle of the paper, fold over the left side of the wrapper and then place it back on the plate. Repeat with the right side to shape the filling into a cylinder.
  2. Next, turn the plate 90º and lift the bottom of the paper so that the now cylindrical filling is farther to one side
  3. Turn the plate 180º so that the filling is closer to you
  4. Fold in the right and left sides of the paper loosely
  5. Fold the bottom of the paper over the filling
  6. Lift from underneath the filling and flip/roll it onto the top of the paper pressing down gently
  7. Continue rolling until the seam is at the bottom of the roll