Who doesn’t love spring rolls?! Nobody! That’s who! They are so fresh and delicious and completely devour-able! Maybe you have always loved spring rolls, but looked at those little rolls of joy and were too intimidated to try making them yourself. With this recipe I hope to demystify the secrets and offer helpful tips so that you too can make scrumptious spring rolls that impress!
The first thing you want to do is press the tofu:
- Cut open the tofu container and drain the liquid.
- Pull out the tofu block and wrap it in a kitchen towel.
- Place the wrapped tofu onto a plate and place a heavy cutting board on top of it. Add a couple of cans from the cupboard for a little extra weight.
- Let sit for 30-45 minutes.
After the tofu has been pressed, it is time to cut and marinate it. For spring rolls,I like to cut pieces that are roughly the size of my index finger (about 2 inches x 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch). Place the pieces into a plastic container and cover with the marinade. (Since this recipe is time-consuming enough, I didn’t bother to create my own marinade. Instead, I used a bottle of Asian sauce from the market called “Soyaki”– it’s a soy sauce and teriyaki blend, but use whatever you like). Place an air tight lid on top and flip it over a couple of times so the marinade gets to all of the pieces. Place in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours (the longer the better), flipping once or twice to keep the marinade distributed.
When the tofu pieces are done marinating it’s time to bake them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pieces one at a time on the baking sheet(s) in neat lines. Bake for 20 minutes, flip the pieces*, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow tofu to cool before rolling.
*When flipping the tofu,, I find it is easiest to let the pieces cool for just a minute or two and then flip them with my fingers. If they are too hot for you, or you just don’t want to use your fingers, then I recommend tongs. If you absolutely HAVE to use a spatula then use the thinnest one you have.
Once prepped, line up all of the ingredients on the counter. Add 3 inches of hot (hot, but not boiling- you have to stick your hands in it) water to a large (5 qt) saute pan and place it on the left side (lefties, place it on the right) of your work station in front of the open the package of rice papers. Center a large cutting board at the front of your work station. This is where you will roll.
I find that it is important to keep the cutting board damp to have the best control over the rice papers. Not too wet and not dry- just damp. So before you start, pour water over your cutting board and wipe away excess water with your hand.
Now it is time create your roll! Place a sheet of rice paper into the hot water and allow it to sit for 3-6 seconds so that it starts to soften (it will continue to soften as you arrange your ingredients). Then, lay it flat in the middle of the cutting board. Place two pieces of tofu in the center of the wrapper so that their ends overlap slightly. Then, add a pinch of cilantro, a pinch of mint, two pinches of carrots, two pinches of lettuce, and about 1 1/2 tbsp of noodles to the middle. All pinches are “three-finger” pinches, Pointer, Middle, Ring and Thumb. Pile ingredients on top of each other as you go.
To fold them, follow the pictures below: Pull one side over the ingredients. Then, fold two other sides over the first like an envelope. And then, roll the whole thing until all of the rice paper is rolled up. Getting the hang of this can take some practice, but stick with it! Ta da!
Continue until you run out of an ingredient. If you are not going to eat them immediately, wrap them individually in plastic wrap (otherwise they will stick together and tear– not to mention dry out). Enjoy!
Tofu Spring Rolls
- FOR THE ROLLS
- 1 block low-fat tofu
- 1 cup Asian marinade
- 1 bunch cilantro, peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup mint leaves, lightly packed, chopped
- 1 bag shredded iceburg lettuce
- 1/2 bag matchstick carrots, finely chopped
- 1/2 box of rice noodles.
- 1 package rice papers FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- 1/2 cup hoisen sauce (Asian plum sauce)
- 1-2 tsp Asian chili sauce
1. Press the tofu
2. Cut the tofu into strips about 2 inches x 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch.
3. Marinade the tofu for 2-6 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tofu onto the sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip (see above for tips) and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
5. Fill a 5 qt sauce pan with 3 inches of hot water. Place a sheet of rice paper into the hot water and allow it to sit for 3-6 seconds so that it starts to soften (it will continue to soften as you arrange your ingredients). Then, lay it flat in the middle of the cutting board. Place two pieces of tofu in the center of the wrapper so that their ends overlap slightly. Then add a generous pinch of cilantro, a pinch of mint, two pinches of carrots, two pinches of lettuce and about 1 1/2 tbsp noodles all in the middle. *NOTE: All pinches are “three-finger” pinches, Pointer, Middle, Ring and Thumb.* Then roll (see above for tips)
6. Wrap rolls individually in plastic wrap if you do not immediately eat them.
7. Mix hoisen and chili sauce together in a small sauce pan. Warm over low heat before serving.