Friday, 24 June 2011

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls with Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce and Asparagus & Green Beans with Black Sesame Dressing

Kitchen Play List: BBC Radio 2 2 Day Concert

A little something different...
A little something different....well yes..this meal definitely lived up to that. lol. On one of the blogs I follow these spring rolls were featured and they looked so lovely, fresh and delicious that we had to try them. And then we couldn't find the rice paper needed to make them until My Love came home with a packet last week and told me that it was my Mystery Ingredient Challenge item...fantastic. Our friend BD was here at the time and she witnessed my excitement upon receiving this gift...romance is not dead in this I think she thought we were mad. lol.

Anyway...I printed off the recipe for the spring rolls and realised I didn't have a dipping sauce to go with them and soy sauce just wouldn't have been right with the filling. So I did a simple search for dipping sauces and the Asian Peanut dipping sauce was one of the first I looked at. It looked tasty and easy to whip up but was frustratingly posted by Anon...again! I felt that the meal would need something else to round it out a little and I knew that I would be craving something green so I turned to Hema Parekh's Japanese section of The Asian Vegan Kitchen 

Asparagus in Black Sesame Dressing just seemed to leap out at me as a good accompaniment to the spring rolls. It was simple to make, full of flavour and now I am beginning to find my asparagus seemed perfect. 

Now it all looks beautiful on the plate and looks exactly as it should be compared to the photos I've worked from. So after all the chopping, filling, rolling, dressing and arranging we sat down to eat and was a little shocked. Admittedly this meal was out of my comfort zone and neither of us had tried 'raw' spring rolls before...but the first few mouthfuls were a little strange. I don't know what I was expecting from the spring rolls and in my mind I probably had the 'regular' cooked kind...

Firstly I will say that the filling was absolutely delicious and was fresh and a delight. The dipping sauce was excellent and wasn't too rich and the lime juice in it brought a whole different layer of flavour. My issue was with the actual rice paper rolls. I have no idea what I was expecting...accept from their cooked counterparts...but they were...well sticky and quite chewy. Not awful just very different from what I was expecting and it took some getting used to. Would I try them again?...Yes. I didn't hate them. It was just a shock. We made one and baked it in the oven for 5 minutes and although it was initially crispier, it still went chewy once you started to eat it. So I just felt it right to warn you about this. I've done a little research this morning to make sure that we made them correctly and nothing has come up to say we hadn't. There are many differing recipes for these rolls with differing fillings and dips but are all made the same way. So they are obviously meant to be sticky and chewy. lol 

The Asparagus in Black Sesame dressing was delicious and the only note I would say about this recipe is to make sure you really grind the seeds to dust otherwise you do get very 'crunchy' mouthfuls that leave you checking all your fillings, crowns and teeth. lol. 

So if I haven't put you I really hope I haven't. I just wished we had had the warning before we'd tried them. Here are the photos and recipes. Good luck and please let me know of your experiences with 'raw' fresh spring rolls or if you try these and your opinions...~R~ 

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls  Makes approx 13 rolls
(Recipe from )

Sprouted Flavourful Spring Rolls
 rice paper circles
white sesame seeds
16 mint leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2/3 of cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
bean sprouts...( suggests Fenugreek but I didn't have them so used regular and they worked just fine)

Damp down a clean kitchen towel and lay it flat on the kitchen counter. 

Add the pear matchsticks and lime juice in a bowl and toss together. 

Fill a bowl with warm water.  Have all the fillings to one side and start a production line. 

Dip a rice paper into the warm water for 5 seconds and lay out on the kitchen towel. 

Sprinkle with sesame seeds. At the closest part to you lay a mint leaf, leaving a lip to be able to fold over the filling.

Add some of the carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, pear sticks and some sprouts. 

Fold the lip up and over the filling pile and roll up and then fold in each side and then continue to roll up until you have a tight little parcel. Then place on the serving dish. 

And repeat until the fillings are used up or you have the amount of rolls you require. Serve cold with dipping sauce.

Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce Makes about 1 cup
(Recipe post by ANON!)

Asian Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I use Whole Earth Original Smooth)
1 garlic clove 
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp agave nectar or 1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
fresh ground black pepper

In a blender put all of the ingredients, blitz until smooth then pour into a serving bowls.

Asparagus & Greens Beans in Black Sesame Dressing 
(Recipe from The Asian Vegan Kitchen/Parekh)

Asparagus & Green Beans in Black Sesame Dressing
In Perakh's recipe book she says she has made this recipe using both aspargus and green beans separately with great success. So I decided to combine the two veggies for this meal. But the choice is yours ~R~

1 bunch of fresh asparagus
1 pkt of fresh green beans
4 tbsp black sesame seeds
3 tsp soy sauce (I use reduced salt soy sauce)
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar (I used 1 tsp agave nectar)

Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and then chop them and the green beans into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Keeping the tips of the asparagus separate. In a medium sized pan bring water to a boil and then toss in the asparagus and green beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Then toss in the asparagus tips and cook for a further minute. Drain immediately and leave to cool down to room temperature. 

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until fragrant but do not leave to burn! Then grind them into powder in a blender. Transfer to a bowl, add the soy sauce and sake and mix until a smooth paste is formed. 

Add the veggies to the bowl and stir until the paste coats them. Serve at room temperature. 

Enjoy folks!