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Vegetarian Spring Rolls / Egg Rolls (Gluten-Free)

It's Chinese New Year and spring rolls are a must have for a traditional Chinese dinner. After a spring roll is deep fried, the skin turns golden, and the color and the shape of the spring roll represent a "gold bar."  Serving spring rolls during Chinese New Year is done to present "gold" to guests and wish all the guests luck in making more money in the coming year. And yes, everyone cares about money nowadays..and Chinese people sometimes do care about money way too much! In a more traditional Chinese spring roll, the fillings often contain pork and shrimp along with shredded vegetable. As for me, I opted for vegetarian version, and tofu is used as protein. I have often brought my version of spring rolls to potluck dinners and everyone often asks me for the recipe. I am finally going to share it here.

A typical spring roll wrapper is made with wheat--to make a gluten-free version you need to use Vietnamese rice paper wraps instead. The gluten-free version is healthier since it's not fried. My version of the spring roll does not use the traditional ingredients that my mom would normally use in Hong Kong or my Vietnamese friend would do in a more traditional Vietnamese spring roll or summer roll.

People often think that it's time consuming to make spring rolls. In reality, you will be surprised how easy it is.

Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

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NOTE: It is the best to prepare the fillings and let it cool and drained any liquid from the filling before wrapping. The heat and the moisture will potentially break the wrapper.  Also, you can use any kind of vegetable for the fillings. But make sure to chop it up finely.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of spring roll wrapper or rice paper wrapper
  • 1 package of rainbow slaw or brocolli slaw (It can be found in salad session in supermarket)
  • 1 package of Tofu Cutlet or 5-spiced tofu or spice tofu or extra firm tofu - cut into 1" strip
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 1 package of Chinese Pickled Vegetable (Zhacai) or 1/2 cup of dill pickles - it's optional - cut into 1" strip
  • 2 tablespoon of gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine or red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of  sesame seeds oil
  • 2 tablespoon of cooking oil, prefer olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar (dipping sauce)
  • 1 tablepoon of gluten-free soy sauce (dipping sauce)
  • Some sesame seed oil (or hot oil if you prefer spicy)

Fillings:

  1. Heat Wok without any oil, cut the tofu and pickles into 1" strip and wash all vegetables and drain them.
  2. When the wok is hot, cook bean sprouts and stir it until they are heated through, about 2 minutes. Note: Make sure to keep stirring to prevent sticking on the wok. Remove from wok and set aside.
  3. Put oil in the wok and gently move the wok left and right to let the oil coat the bottom, put in rainbow slaw and tofu and stir them for a minute, then add pickles and stir for another minute. 
  4. Add soy sauce, wine, salt, sugar, white pepper and stir it until the seasonings are well blended into the vegetables; about 3-4 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the filling, you would like the vegetables still a little crunchy.
  5. Add the bean sprouts into the wok and stir until they are heated through, about 1 minute or so. Taste the fillings and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Turn the heat off and add the sesame seed oil and stir the oil into the fillings.
  7. Put the fillings into a drainer and cool off.
Gluten Free Version:
  1. Fill a large shallow bowl with warm water, put rice paper into the shallow bowl one at a time; otherwise, they will stick together. When the rice paper is soft about 15 second, remove from bowl and drain the water off of it.
  2. Lay 1 rice paper wrapper in a dry cloth and put 2 spoonfuls of the fillings in the middle of the wrapper; make sure not to over-stuff the wrapper, you would need to leave 1.5" on each sides in order to wrap the spring roll.
  3. Fold up the bottom of the wrapper. The bottom of the wrapper is the part that is closest to the filling. Fold this up over the filling and press down slightly.
  4. Fold both sides to the center so that the edge of both sides meet in the middle
  5. Hold the sides and roll the spring up until the end of the wrapper 
  6. Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seed oil in a dipping bowl and serve immediately

Happy Cooking!


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