I don’t know what I was eating before I discovered rice paper rolls. Now I’m obsessed! There are many variations out there, but with its array of crispy, colorful vegetables, tofu and a magic dipping sauce, I think this one’s pretty special — a vegetarian’s dream, and a party favorite.
Make these for your next event and you’ll have a hard time trying not to gobble them up yourself before the party even gets started.
MAKES 10: R + VGN DF GF RSF
- 250 g (9 oz) medium-firm tofu
- 1 beetroot (beet), peeled
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber
- 1 red capsicum (pepper)
- 1 yellow capsicum (pepper)
- 1 green capsicum (pepper)
- 75 g (2½ oz/ 1 cup) shredded purple cabbage
- 20 basil leaves
- handful of micro herbs
- 1 avocado
- 10 round rice paper sheets
Magic dipping sauce:
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cm (½ inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 45 ml (1½ fl oz) gluten-free tamari
- 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter
- 1–2 tbsp maple syrup
- Juice of 1½ limes
- 1 long red chili, roughly chopped
- Cut the tofu, beetroot, carrots, cucumber and capsicums into long thin strips, keeping them separate. Have the cabbage, basil and micro herbs nearby. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and peel, then cut each half into five slices.
- Fill a bowl with lukewarm water. Submerge one rice paper sheet into the water for about 15 seconds, or until the sheet is just soft; don’t leave it in too long or it will become soggy and tear very easily. Place on a clean tea towel or paper towel.
- Arrange a small portion of the assorted vegetables, tofu, a slice of avocado, two basil leaves and some micro herbs along the center of the rice paper round, leaving about 5 cm (2 inches) of wrapper uncovered on each side. I like to arrange the different ingredients in color order, to get a rainbow effect, but this is not essential. Also, to begin with, be conservative as to how much filling you use, as your rice paper sheet may break if you try to overfill it; at the same time, you want to use enough filling ingredients to make a generously sized roll. Initially, it’s a trial and error exercise to get the right quantity, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.
- Now fold in the ends of the rice paper sheet, then roll the sheet up firmly to enclose the filling. Place your rice paper roll on a serving board or platter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to make 10 rolls.
- Place all the dipping sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender. Add 80 ml (2½ fl oz/ ¹⁄₃ cup) water and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Serve the rice paper rolls immediately with the dipping sauce.
Images and recipes from Hippie Lane: The Cookbook by Taline Gabrielian (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99)