One of my best vegetarian friends and his wife came to visit me and Betsy last weekend and I wanted to make sure we had lots of delicious vegetarian fare to munch on.
I took a risk and let you guys pick one of the first things I planned on making for them. I knew you would pick wisely and you did.
I love making spring rolls because they look freakin’ amazing. The colors are awesome and people are usually impressed. It also turns out to be really easy to make a few as a quick appetizer.
1) Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha and toss in tempeh block. Cover and shake well to coat tempeh. Let rest for 15-20 minutes to marinate.
2) Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Remove tempeh and sear on both sides for 4-5 minutes per side.
3) Remove tempeh and slice thin. Also grate carrots and slice cucumbers into sticks.
4) To make a spring roll, put some warm water in a large plate. Take one rice paper wrapper and submerge it in the water. Let it sit for 5 seconds and flip it and let it sit for another 5 seconds. It should be flexible but not soggy.
5) Move wrapper to a clean surface. Add a few tempeh slices and veggies to the middle of the wrapper. You can fill them pretty big.
6) Roll wrapper up, pulling on the wrapper as you roll to keep it nice and tight.
7) Slice each roll in half and repeat until you use all your tempeh or veggies.
8) Serve with dipping sauce!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m not sure why tofu is more popular than tempeh. Tempeh is, in my opinion, easier to prepare and way more flavorful.
It’s slightly more expensive, but works much better than tofu in dishes like this.
Like tofu though, it can be a bit bland if you just cook it as-is so I marinaded my tempeh for a few minutes in a soy sauce and sriracha mix.
This gives it plenty of flavor!
Once your tempeh has marinated, heat a small amount of oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
Add the tempeh blocks and let them sear for 4-5 minutes per side.
Then just slice it fairly thin and you’re ready to go!
In my opinion, the key to any good spring roll is making sure you have lots of good, crunchy veggies to add to them.
For this version, I grated a carrot, sliced some cucumbers thin, and used some bean sprouts and pea shoots. These were a good mix, but don’t feel obligated to use all of them. You could use almost any fresh and crunchy vegetable for these guys.
Making the Rolls
You should be able to find rice paper wrappers in your supermarket these days. They will usually be in the Asian section on a bottom shelf. Obviously, any Asian market will have them also.
These things might look intimidating, but they are actually pretty easy to use.
Add some warm water to large dish or plate that can hold the wrapper. Then, working with one wrapper at a time, dip it in the water until it’s flexible. I usually let mine sit for a few seconds per side.
If you let the wrapper sit too long in the water it’ll get too soggy to use.
Once the wrapper is flexible, move it to a clean surface and top it like crazy. You can really fill these guys pretty full.
Then fold the ends over the center and start rolling the wrapper.
As you roll the wrapper, pull slightly on the wrapper to keep it really nice and tight. It’s surprising how sturdy these thin little papers actually are. They are stronger than you would think so you can tug on them and make sure the rolls are very tight.
Most importantly, don’t freak out if you mess one up. It happens to the best of us!
Once you finish the rolls, slice them in half and serve them with the dipping sauce.
Doesn’t get much easier, or more colorful, than that!
I served these as an appetizer and then my black pepper tofu for the main dish.
It was a great meal and I’ll be making these guys again for sure.