Fresh Spring Rolls and Quinoa (sushi) Rolls

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It’s so exciting and don’t even know what to start with. Probably from the very beginning. I recently found a blog I fell in love with from the first sight. Seriously, I read it like a book, from the very beginning, turning web-pages. I even started feeling this anxiety about reaching the end some time soon (like with the TV series, when you are about to finish one season in one day and then you need to wait for the weekly releases of the new season). But anyways, there are mostly recipes published but with the good explanation why they work, what’s good about the ingredients and methods used. I feel like I finally found a soulmate. It is a very inspiring and informative blog and I’m just about to try almost all the recipes Sarah has posted.

Now back to rolls. You see, I found myself being obsessed with quinoa lately. Honestly, I can’t imagine how did I use to live without it… Well, there was always buckwheat somewhere around, but it’s not exactly the same. I love quinoa. It can be used in absolutely any dish (sweet or savoury, it is packed with nutrients, it is delicious..what else do we need?)

Another thing is mango. I’ll eat pretty much everything with mango (unless it has been deep-fried or soaked in high-fructose corn syrop). Seriously, mango is my other current obsession (due to apples be out of season, I assume). Fortunately, mangos are in season right now. At least prices and ripeness make me feel so. I eat mangos in fruit salads (throwing away only a bone I cleaned with my teeth), I make smoothies and lassies, I use mangos to make ceviche, to grill seafood..imagination is your only limit.

So I was thinking about light, delicious, somewhat quick-cooking dinner for two on Wednesday night and spring rolls with quinoa sushi sounded so right (well, we also had artichokes, but it doesn’t take any effort to make).

I used this recipe to make spring roll and adapted this one to make quinoa roll.

Let’s start with the sushi roll since it requires a bit of preparation. I like ginger and I normally order more in the restaurants or move the jar with it closer to my plate if we eat at home. So I thought that making my own sounds like fun. Also, you will use the same tezu for quinoa.

To make pickled ginger you need to start with making tezu (I made 2 rolls, so made a few adjustments):

  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. honey 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Whisk all the ingredients together and divide in two equal parts.

30 grams/1 oz fresh ginger root

1. Peel the ginger and slice it thinly (I sliced with knife, but would use a food processor for the bigger amount or a mandoline if I had one) and put it in a small bowl.
2. Sprinkle the ginger with salt, toss to coat, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
3. In 30 minutes squeeze any liquid out of ginger, rinse and squeeze again. The ginger should be dry.
4. Put the ginger into the small glass jar and cover with tezu. Let marinate for 15 minutes (I kept mine in the refrigerator for a few hours).

Quinoa rolls:

If you have time it’s better to soak it for a few hours (it was actually my first time soaking quinoa and it ended up being more fluffy I think).

If you like sesame seeds in your sushi, toast desired amount in the hot skillet for a couple minutes, till they start to pop.

As Sarah said, everything could be a topping. I made one “traditional” roll and two “vegetarian” ones.

For three rolls you will need about 1/2 cups of quinoa.

IMG_5546Rinse quinoa, put it in the pan, cover with 1 cup of water, bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Take it off the heat and let sit covered for another 3-5 minutes. Uncover quinoa, fluff with the fork and transfer to a plate. Let cool for a few minutes.

 

 

Pour reserved tezo into the quinoa and stir. Cover with towel while you are preparing all other ingredients.

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For the “traditional” roll I used:

  • 1 crab stickIMG_5542
  • avocado
  • goat cheese
  • cucumber

 

 

 

For the “vegetarian” roll I used:

  • beetsIMG_5541
  • celery root
  • mango

Cut all the ingredients in the matchstick size.

Place the nori sheet on the bamboo mat shiny side down.

 

Spread quinoa evenly over the nori sheet leaving a 3cm-wide border along the edge furthest from you. Put all the fillings in the center (don’t overfill, if you cut too much you can serve it on a side). Pick up the edge closer to you, using your fingers to hold the fillings inside and roll over to enclose (I found it useful to wet the empty edge a little like you’d do with stamps or envelope if it doesn’t want to stick on its own). Once the roll feels firm, cut it in pieces with a wet very sharp knife. Cut it first in halves. Then cut each half in 3 pieces. Serve with the ginger.

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Now back to spring rolls.

I went to the pretty big Asian Supermarket to find rice paper (wraps). There was a whole freezer full of spring roll wraps with the very long list of ingredients, which if I’m not mistaken excluded rice. I didn’t want any of these guys. Since I was on the way to the Whole Foods Market I thought that it would be my last chance. I found rice paper in the Asian section on a shelf for $2 made from rice, water, salt and tapioca starch. Just what I was looking for! There are instructions on the package and it’s pretty easy to handle.

For the filling, again, you can use anything you want. Since I was following Sarah’s recipe, the only changed I’ve made was adding celery root.

To make two spring rolls:

  • 1 carrot  IMG_5545
  • 1/4 medium sized sweet potato
  • Celery root (amount equal to carrots and potato)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • splash of canola oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • squeeze of lemon juice

 

Toast sesame seeds in the hot skillet till they pop. Remove from heat and set aside.

Julienne vegetables.

Put oil, ginger and honey in the skillet and cook for a minute or two. Add vegetables and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds and lemon juice.

Fill shallow dish wider than the rice paper with hot water. Put one wrap in the water and leave for about 30 seconds till it becomes pliable. Transfer the wrap carefully to a plate with paper towel (or just a clean working surface). Put the fillings in the center. Fold the top half of the wrap over the fillings. Then fold in both sides and fold the bottom up to seal. To make the roll sturdier pr incase it tore apart, simply wrap the roll in the second wrap.

And the last thing is a dipping sauce. I actually don’t like peanut butter. I mean I tasted it twice (the most common one Jeff’s or whatever brand it is and almost threw up, I then tasted the raw freshly made one and it was a little better, but I can’t imagine eating it with the sandwich bread and a jelly on top). So I was happy to try an almond butter based sauce.

  • 1 tsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp. soya sauce
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. water
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • pinch of crushed chilies

Just whisk all ingredients together in small bowl until smooth. 

That’s about it. It is absolutely delicious. Once I finally stopped chewing I started wondering “for what ever reason someone would put this delicate, fragile piece of delicacy in the boiling water to deep fry it???”