Now that it’s March we can go ahead and plan for summer snacking, right? Since February felt like May?
You get it.
These are one of my favorite foods, hands down. I order them at restaurants, love them from Thai places for takeout, and even find that they’re kind of hard to mess up from not-as-nice places like, say, the grocery store.
Yep, I’ve done it.
It’s something about the super fresh filling, chewy wrapper, and sweet/spicy/savory dipping sauces that just gets me every time. Fresh basil and/or mint and/or cilantro are a must for me, but other than that I fill these with whatever I have on hand based on who will be eating them, what needs to be used up, and my general ever-changing mood. The version below is for a crispy tofu filling, but shredded chicken or boiled shrimp work really well in these too.
I’ve also been thinking about these a lot lately because I have approximately 9,837 of the wrappers in my house from my sister’s engagement party last year, so Jay and I are going to start using them once a week or so as a way-more-fun alternative to salad night. Here’s the original post!
- Sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 18 dried rice paper rolls (they may be called Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers)
- 1 brick tofu, cut into 6 planks lengthwise, each plank cut into 3 strips
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- oil for frying
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 3 scallions, julienned
- 1 small cucumber, julienned
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (or basil or cilantro, or a mix!)
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 4 cups arugula leaves
Prepare the sauces. Fill a small dish with some sweet chili sauce for dipping. In a separate dish, combine the peanut butter, hoisin, vinegar, and one tablespoon water until smooth. Taste, and adjust the levels to your preference or add more water if the sauce is very thick.
Fry the tofu. Heat about 1/2 inch canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, toss the tofu with the cornstarch. When the oil is very hot, fry the tofu in batches, not crowding the pan, for about 3 minutes on each side until the tofu is golden. Let the fried tofu drain on paper towels.
Arrange the tofu, prepared veggies, a clean kitchen towel, and a flat dish of warm water in one area where you will make the rolls. One at a time, dip a rice paper wrapper in the warm water for about 10 seconds until it starts to soften. Place the wrapper on the kitchen towel you spread out, then mound it with arugula, bean sprouts, carrot, scallion, cucumber, herbs, and a piece of tofu.
Wrap the roll like a burrito by pulling the sides over the tofu, then tightly rolling the wrapper around the filling. Repeat until all the ingredients are rolled.
Serve immediately at room temperature with the 2 sauces for dipping.
1. When cutting the veggies, make them about the same length as the tofu strips for easy rolling.
2. When softening the rice paper wrappers, take the paper out of the water before you think it's soft enough to roll. It will keep softening out of the water and is less likely to tear if it isn't overly soft.