Resolutions, as a rule, don’t really work for me. The one thing that’s stuck, though, is my resolve to learn something new in the kitchen every year. Last year, it was bread baking and sausage making. This year, I’ve set my sights on a new book - Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen. Dumplings and spring rolls are one of my husband’s favorite foods, and I thought it would be a challenging, fun direction. For many years, on New Year’s Day – following the lead of a Chinese friend – I’ve been serving these vegetarian spring rolls. These I started to make years ago, fiddling with the vegetable mixture until I came up with this iteration. If all goes well, by next New Year’s Day, I’ll have a wider repertoire, and we’ll be throwing a dim sum party. (Note: Don’t fail to freeze and defrost the fresh tofu ahead of time – freezing makes the tofu crumbly and much easier to add to the mixture.) —MrsWheelbarrow
ginger root, minced
sugar snap peas, cut in three pieces
medium carrot, grated or julienned
scallions, chopped fine
Napa cabbage, shredded
Extra Firm Tofu, frozen and defrosted
toasted sesame oil
Chinese rice wine (sub sherry or white vermouth)
In a large saucier or sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil and sauté the ginger and garlic until softened but not browned.
Add the peas, carrot and mushrooms and cook gently for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. Crumble the tofu into the mixture. Stir well.
Add the cabbage and oil, soy sauce and wine. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are softened and fully cooked, and the moisture has evaporated, leaving the mixture dry. This is very important – if the mixture is too wet, your spring rolls will be soggy. Set filling aside to cool.
Stir together all the dipping sauce ingredients.
Fill and wrap: Place a wrapper on your work surface, corners pointing as in a compass. Place about 3 Tbls of filling at the bottom (south) corner. Begin to roll (do not fold in outside corners yet – that’s a burrito.) Keep the roll quite tight. When you get to the midpoint, fold in the east and west corners. Continue rolling and then moisten the last corner (north) by dipping your fingertips in a little water to seal the spring roll.
Place completed rolls, seam side down, on a sheet pan and either hold until all rolls are completed, or cook and roll as you go.
Heat 2" canola oil in a cast iron pan, or heat up your deep fryer until a drop of water seriously sizzles.
Place the roll seam side down in the hot oil. Cook for about 8 minutes total, until evenly crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels set on a rack.
Serve spring rolls piping hot with the sauce. Happy New Year.