The Lean Green Bean

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sayonara Summer Rolls & Kung Pao Chicken

Today was very Asian inspired. I have been wanting to make summer/spring rolls for a while now. I always thought they were called spring rolls if they were clear and egg rolls if they were fried, but after searching for recipes, it appears they are called both spring rolls and summer rolls. Since summer is coming to an end, I thought I should help say "Sayonara" by making some of these rolls. Here's how do to it:

I found the recipe that I used as a starting point in one of my cookbooks (The Food You Crave- Ellie Krieger)

Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce

For the dipping Sauce:
1 Tbsp sugar (I only used 1 tsp)
2 tsp warm water
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 tsp chili sauce (I used Siracha)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fish or soy sauce (I used soy sauce)
1 Tbsp finely shredded carrot (I left this out)
1 scallion thinly sliced

For the rolls:
6 medium shrimp (I bought pre-cooked, frozen, "salad" shrimp. They were small so I put 4 in each roll. If you use big ones you are supposed to cut them in half lengthwise and put two halves in each)
2 ounces Vietnamese or Thai rice noodles
6 rice paper rounds (Or however many rolls you want to make)
12 basil leaves (I used cilantro instead because it was used in some of the other recipes I looked at)
1/2 cup shredded carrot (I just thinly sliced some baby carrots and also used  red bell pepper and cucumber cut the same way)
12 fresh mint leaves (I only used 1 per roll)
3 red-leaf lettuce leaves, spines removed, making 6 halves

To make the sauce, dissolve the sugar in water in a small bowl, add the remaining sauce ingredients, stir and refrigerate until ready to use:

To make the rolls, cook and slice the shrimp if necessary. To cook the kind of rice noodles I got, you just needed to place them in a pan, pour hot water over them, cover the pan and remove after 10 minutes:

Gather the remaining ingredients and chop your vegetables. To remove the spine from the lettuce, fold the leaf in half and cut out the crunchy part :)

Next, soak your rice paper wrappers in a saucepan of warm water (one at a time) for about 1 minute or until soft and flexible. Don't get discouraged if you can't find these, I had to go to two different grocery stores! Asian food can be hard because it requires a lot of ingredients that you might not have on hand. But i've found if you just add one or two ingredients to your pantry each time you make something, you won't spend a fortune and soon you'll have everything you need. If you don't have something, search for a substitute or just leave it out- a teaspoon of a certain sauce or oil probably isn't going to ruin the recipe.

Remove the wrapper from the water, place on a clean surface and layer the ingredients near one edge of the paper:

Top with lettuce and roll up carefully like a burrito!

Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Serve immediately with dipping sauce (cut each roll in half) or store in the fridge covered with a damp paper towel.

Next up, the kung pao chicken:
*original recipe found here

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp cooking Sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp vegetable oil
8-12 dried red chili peppers, halved and de-seeded
5 slices ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
2 green onions
(i added broccoli)

2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Mix one tsp cornstarch with 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sherry, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Pour over chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

-Heat vegetable oil in a wok or pan until hot. Add chicken and cook until half-way done. Remove from pan and set aside.

While chicken is cooking, gather the rest of your ingredients.

Slice the garlic and ginger, halve the chilis and remove the seeds-unless you like a whole lot of POW in your kung pao. Dried chilis usually come in a big bag and a little goes a long way!

Add the garlic, ginger, and peppers to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan with the broccoli and the peanuts. Stir to combine and then add the sauce (To make the sauce, just add all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine):

Simmer over low heat until sauce thickens and bubbles:

Serve over rice and top with green onions:



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