Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spring Rolls and Stir Fry

I took a little break from any serious cooking last week. I was having a really tough time at work and not sleeping well at all. Fortunately, that passed and I am back to my normal self. With things a a bit less crazy at work (for now) I will have some time to cook new dishes and actually take pictures before scarfing down the food. Yesterday, I made up for a week of dinners like spaghetti and spent a couple of hours in the kitchen making spring rolls and a curry stir fry. I got the idea for the spring rolls from Vegan with a Vengeance, however; I adapted the recipe so I could stuff more goodies into the rice paper.

Let me just say that I love Asian markets. There is one literally down the street from my home, House of Rice, and I really don't know why I don't go there more often. Besides having a bounty of Asian goodies at a fraction of the cost of regular grocery stores, they also have other random items and a lot of pretty dishes and serving plates. There is a larger Asian market a little further in Chandler, called Leelee's, but I rarely make it down there. I should do it more often.

At House of Rice, I picked up a lifetime supply (seriously, it was a lot) of rice paper, a package of vermicelli, a baggie of fresh Thai basil, and a can of "Vegetarian Mock Duck" I found lurking in the recesses of the market. I had to test out a couple of the cans, as some of them were dented, but thought I'd give it a shot. We weren't impressed - the duck was very sweet and as Jeffrey said, "It was just seitan." Next time, I will make seitan myself and save the two bucks.

Spring Rolls (makes 12 rolls)
rice paper
4 oz. vermicelli, cooked, rinsed with cold water, and set aside
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 C cilantro leaves
3 large Romaine leaves
1/4 cup crushed peanuts

Set out a pie dish or other flat, shallow pan and fill with tepid water. Soak the rice paper, one by one, for about 15 seconds each, until flexible. Lay out the paper on a plate or cutting board and assemble as follows, right in the middle of the paper: 2 tbl vermicelli, 4 carrot strips, 4 cucumber strips, 4 avocado chunks, 3 mango strips, a strip of lettuce, a handful of cilantro, and a sprinkle of crushed peanut. Be careful when you wrap it. Fold in the outer sides, and while holding them in with your middle and ring fingers, pull up the bottom portion with your thumb and index fingers to cover half of the paper, then roll. Repeat until your ingredients are gone or you are really sick of rolling.

The curry was simply a mix of the mock duck, broccoli, onion, and bell pepper over rice, served with my dad's yummy curry sauce that he makes oh so well (leftover from Sunday family dinner and frozen), and sprinkled with cashews. By the time I was finished with everything, I was tired. I'm surprised I was able to take pictures. Hopefully you won't find them too appalling.