Nothing says happy holidays like Thai food. Seriously. Though the last scene from A Christmas Story isn’t exactly Thai inspired, just thinking about it is enough to send one on an all out search for something deliciously simple. A recent dinner with close friends resulted in fresh spring rolls, something you will find to be just that.
This week’s ingredients should be easy enough to attain: head to Trader Joes for shredded carrots ($1.29), Persian cucumbers ($2.19), and firm tofu ($1.19). Whole Foods will carry the rice paper ($3.99) you’ll be rolling these ingredients up in. Optional items for the interior of the spring rolls include: pea shoots (available from Suzie’s, found at a number of Farmers’ Markets) ($1-2), shredded pumpkin (which you’ll have to shred yourself-small pumpkins start at $2), and/or vermicelli noodles ($2.39). Many prefer a Thai peanut dipping sauce ($3.49 at Ralph’s) or teriyaki dipping sauce ($2.99) post roll completion. Feel free to stick to the basics.
Once you’ve assembled the cast and crew for your spring roll production, head to the kitchen. Bake the tofu in soy sauce. Slice into strips-4 total. Slather with soy sauce, and throw into the oven (375F). It should be done in 30 minutes (make sure and rotate halfway through). While that’s baking, begin slicing your cucumbers into 3-4 inch shreds-not as thick as the cucumber, but with the same idea in mind. Grab a bowl and fill it with hot (not so hot you’ll burn your little fingers) water. To prepare the rolls, either work on a cutting board or clean work surface. Now that your tofu is done, slice into strips (again, about 3-4 inches long). Once you have all of your prepared internal items (carrots, cucumbers, tofu+whatever else), you’re ready to begin!
Grab a rice paper and place it in the hot water. Keep it down until it is soft, approximately 30 seconds. Next, lay it on the work area. You’ll be placing all of the ingredients in the lower mid section of the paper. Add a little of each, all right on top of one another. The rolling pattern will look similar to a burrito. Fold one side over your little mound. Next, fold the top half over. Finally, the last side should be snugly secured. You have just made a fun and festive holiday treat! Dip your little creation in peanut sauce, and you’ll be glad Ralphie’s you’ll shoot your eye out situation resulted in such a yummy meal. Makes at least 30 rolls. Basic set up plus peanut sauce=$12.20. Each roll comes out to around 41 cents.