So what’s the difference between an egg roll, a spring roll and a summer roll? Here’s what I think. If any of my Asian friends would like to comment or make corrections, I’d welcome it.
|Type||Wrapper Ingredients||Typical Filling||Preparation|
|Egg roll||Egg & wheat flour||Pork, shrimp or chicken, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts||Fried|
|Spring roll||Rice||Pork or shrimp, rice noodles, mushrooms, carrots||Fried|
|Summer roll||Rice||Pork, shrimp or tofu, fresh herbs, rice noodles, cucumbers||Soft (not fried)|
Spring rolls and summer rolls are usually gluten-free, but egg rolls almost always contain wheat. Summer rolls contain less fat than spring rolls and egg rolls because they are not fried.
In an effort to eat more meatless meals, I’ve been experimenting with tofu. I wouldn’t say I love it, but it is growing on me. One trick is to make sure you let tofu marinate in some sort of sauce so that it absorbs the flavors of that sauce. I’ve used ponzu here, which you should be able to find in the Asian section of your market. Ponzu has a watery consistency and a citrusy flavor. It’s made from rice vinegar, mirin, seaweed and Asian citrus fruits.
Some notes on the recipe:
- Do not attempt this recipe when you are feeling stressed or pressed for time. It’s not hard, but an adventurous spirit and a bit of patience are required until you get the hang of working with the rice wrappers.
- For the noodles, you can use rice vermicelli, maifun (rice angel hair) or regular angel hair pasta. I used brown rice angel hair. Whatever you use, make sure it’s a very thin noodle.
- You may not get 12 rolls out of this – it just depends on how full you stuff them. You should get at least 8.
- I used all of my mint and veggies, but had some tofu and a few noodles left. I mixed the tofu and noodles with a little bit of the dipping sauce and it made a most excellent snack. You could also “scramble” any leftover tofu for breakfast or throw it into a stir-fry.
- If you can’t bring yourself to eat tofu, substitute shrimp. Peel, devein, and remove the tails, then stir-fry in a little oil and ponzu until the shrimp just turns opaque. Drain on paper towels and cool before using.
- Mint gives these summer rolls a fresh taste, but if you don’t like it, experiment with basil or cilantro instead.
- I’m a vinegar-loving girl and this sauce is very tangy. If you aren’t a fan of excessive vinegar, substitute another sauce such as Thai sweet chili sauce or garlic chili sauce.
- Make these rolls on the weekend and pack them for lunch during a busy work week. They travel very well.
Summer Rolls with Ponzu-Glazed Tofu
Adapted from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen (rolls) and Ellie Krieger (sauce)
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons warm water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce or Sriracha
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce or tamari/soy sauce
1 tablespoon finely shredded carrot
1 scallion (green part only), thinly sliced
FOR THE SUMMER ROLLS
1/4 cup ponzu
1 pound firm tofu
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
2 scallions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 ounces angel hair rice noodles (maifun)
12 (8-inch) round rice paper sheets (spring roll skins)
36 fresh mint leaves (3 large leaves per roll)
Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Add rice vinegar, chili sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, carrots and scallions. Mix well and chill until ready to use.
Prep the tofu: Preheat oven to 375°F. Place two paper towels on a cutting board and place the tofu on top. Put two more paper towels on top and place something heavy on the stack. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to remove some of the moisture from the tofu. Discard paper towels and slice tofu lengthwise into 8 slabs. Pour ponzu into 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Place the tofu slabs in a single layer in the dish and turn to coat all sides with ponzu. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over, then bake another 10 minutes. Let cool in pan, then cut each slab lengthwise into 3 strips.
Prep the veggies: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, stir for 30 seconds, then add the tamari, cabbage, scallions and carrots. Sauté until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Prep the noodles: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook rice noodles for about 2 minutes, then drain, rinse in cold water and drain again.
Make the rolls: Fill a large shallow bowl or skillet (that is large enough to hold one of the rice paper rounds) with warm water. Place one rice paper sheet in the water and let it soak until pliable, about 20 seconds. (Don’t soak it too long or it will rip when you lift it out of the water. Trust me on this.) Lift from bowl, letting excess water drip off, and place on a cutting board. Place 3 large mint leaves (pretty side down) end to end across the rice paper sheet, about a third of the way up from the bottom and an inch or so in from the sides. Add 2 strips of tofu, then some vermicelli, then some of the veggie mixture (in that order). Fold short end of wrapper up and over the filling (from the bottom). Fold in both sides, then roll up the wrapper tightly. Remove to a plate, then repeat with remaining wrappers.
Serve: Serve whole or cut each roll in half on the diagonal with sauce on the side for dipping.
Makes 12 servings
Per serving: 124 calories, 3g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 251mg sodium, 21g carb, 2g fiber, 4g sugar, 4g protein