Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fresh Rolls

Blog #14 for the vegan MoFo 2010 challenge!

Thai is my favorite type of food (Indian is a close second) and I love eating in Thai restaurants. Since going gluten free, it has been more challenging to find Thai places that can cater to me. I have not yet tried to go to my favorite Thai place because I am scared that my favorite dishes won't work for me any longer and then I'll be crushed.

I am not great at making Thai food as a whole, but I think we have Pad Thai as well as a few others down. Generally, we like it much better out. One of our favorite things, however, is to make are fresh rolls, also known as summer rolls, with tofu at home. We often make sushi, fresh rolls, and miso soup and call it a dinner.

We were recently craving these rolls and decided to make them for dinner. We generally vary our ingredients each time we make them. In this particular instance, we used the following for our rolls.
  • Rice paper wrappers
  • Thin bean thread rice noodles
  • Extra firm tofu
  • Carrots
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Sauce- made of up gf tamari and agave nectar
In case you have never made them before, here is the process we use. Begin by cutting the tofu into strips, spray a little Bragg's amino acids on the tofu and bake until just starting to brown. While the tofu is baking, wash and prepare the herbs and lettuce and set them aside in separate containers. Follow the instructions on the package for the noodles. In the meantime, warm water in a tea kettle or on the stove. When it is hot, but not too hot to touch, pour it into a large bowl. The bowl should be big enough for the rice paper wrappers.

Now you are ready to begin putting the rolls together. Start by dipping the wrappers into the warm water. When they soften, pull them out. You don't have to let them get too soft. It takes about 10 to 15 seconds depending on how warm the water is. If you notice the wrappers are taking longer to soften, warm up more water and add it to the bowl.

Place the softened wrapper on a hard surface, and place the lettuce down and then top with the other ingredients. We usually do- lettuce, noodles, carrots, tofu, and then herbs on top. Any order will work, you just have to try it and see what works best for you. Make sure you place all of the ingredients in one section of the wrapper, close to the edge. Once all of the goodies are in place, it is time to fold.

I didn't take a picture of my best work here. The ingredients should be more towards
the edge of the wrapper towards the bottom of the picture

Fold the sides on the left and right over about an inch in. The sides folded in should not touch.
Note that if you have too much on the inside, it will rip or fall apart. It might take you a try or two to get the amount correct. Don't worry, you can just keep using the same wrapper.

Again, not my best work. The ingredients should be more towards
the edge of the wrapper towards the bottom of the picture

Next, begin folding the end with the ingredients over toward the opposite side that is empty. When you get to the end, you don't need to do anything as the wrapper will be wet and sticky enough to hold together.

I usually tuck in any folds that are sticking out before serving.

Then repeat until you have finished all of your ingredients. It is good to let them sit for about 15 minutes before eating. You can use this time to mix your dipping sauce. Sometimes we use a peanut sauce. This time, we used a soy based sauce. I mixed a tablespoon or two of low sodium, gf soy sauce with a little agave nectar. Get creative and add in what you like to taste on your rolls.

And there you have it- completed fresh rolls! Enjoy!