Episode #213

Tofu & Broccoli in Peanut Sauce

Spicy Hoisin-Peanut Sauce


Vietnamese Vegetarian Rice Paper Salad Rolls

Serves 6-8

No single dish can better represent the contrasting delicateness of Vietnamese cuisine than this one.  Traditionally filled with juicy shrimp and pork, they can also be stuffed with grilled chicken, salmon or vegetables.  Lively and flavorful, these rolls can be served with either spicy hoisin-peanut sauce or Vietnamese dipping sauce.

for the filling
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 dried Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained and sliced thin
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound jicama, cut into thin strips (about 2 1/2 cups)

for assembling the rolls
- 8 sheets round rice paper, 12" in diameter (keep extra on hand just in case you tear them)
- 1 small head red leaf lettuce, leaves separated and washed
- 1/2 pound rice vermicelli, boiled 4-5 minutes, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup julienned carrots, blanched
- 1 cup Vietnamese coriander or mint or basil leaves

accompaniment
- 1 cup spicy hoisin-peanut sauce

To make the filling
heat oil in a saut» pan over high heat.  Add shallots and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds.  Stir in mushrooms, soy sauce and sugar.  Add the jicama and cook until vegetables are wilted and hot, about 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate but discard the excess juice.

To assemble the rolls
set up a salad roll 'station.'  Fill a large mixing bowl with hot water.  Keep some boiling water handy to add to the bowl if the temperature drops below 110 degrees.  Choose an open area on the counter and arrange the condiments in the order they are used, i.e., the rice paper, hot water, a damp towel and a platter holding all the fillings.

Working with only two sheets at a time, dip 1 sheet, edge first, in the hot water and turn to completely wet it, about 10 seconds.  Lay the sheet down on the towel and stretch slightly to remove any wrinkles.  Wet the other rice paper the same way and place it alongside the other.

Line the bottom third of the wet pliable rice sheet with one-half piece of lettuce.  Top with 2 tablespoons rice vermicelli, 3 tablespoons of saut»ed jicama, 2-3 carrots strips and 5-6 rau ram leaves.  Make sure the ingredients are neatly placed in a straight row about 5 inches long and evenly spread out.

Using your second, third and fourth fingers, press down on the ingredients while you use the other hand to fold over both sides of the rice paper.  (Pressing down on the ingredients is particularly important because it tightens the roll.)  With fingers still pressing down, use two thumbs to fold the bottom edge over the filling and roll into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inches wide and 5-6 inches long.  Finish making all the remaining rolls.

To serve
Cut the rolls into 2 or 4 equal pieces and place the cut rolls upright on an appetizer plate.  Serve with hoisin-peanut on the side.  If you like, garnish the rolls with sprigs of rau ram or basil.


Spicy Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

makes 2 cups

The delicious sauce is traditionally served with Vietnamese rice paper wrapped salad rolls.  But I've found that when embellished with garlic, chilies and ginger, it's a great accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken and beef.  Note that the saltiness of hoisin sauce can vary so adjust the seasonings accordingly.

- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup pureed or finely minced yellow onion

garnishes
- 1 tablespoon ground chili paste or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts

Place hoisin sauce, water, vinegar and pureed onions in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer until sauce is thickened just enough to coat a spoon, about 6-8 minutes.  Add a little water if it's too thick.  Set aside to cool.  Transfer to a sauce ramekin and garnish with chili paste and peanuts.


Tofu & Broccoli in Peanut Sauce

Episode #213
page 238-239 in the book

1 in skillet or wok, quickly saut» tofu over medium-high heat in 1 tablespoon peanut oil, water, and 1/2 teaspoon shoyu for 2 minutes.  Remove from skillet.
2 add 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil and a little water to hot skillet and heat for a moment.  Add broccoli and 1/2 teaspoon shoyu.  Cook until broccoli just begins to soften (1 to 2 minutes) and remove from skillet.
3 heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil and a little water.   Add ginger and onion and saut» until onion is tender.
4 add peanut butter and stir (mixture will be thick and sticky).   Add soy milk slowly, stirring until you reach a creamy texture.  If the sauce is too thick, slowly begin adding water until sauce reaches desired consistency.
5 add lemon juice, vinegar, and the remaining 2 teaspoons shoyu and stir.  Make any adjustments in flavoring at this time, including the addition of cayenne or chile oil.
6 add tofu and broccoli to sauce and mix well.  Serve as a side dish or over noodles or rice.  Garnish with chopped peanuts.

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Ingredients:

- 8 ounces firm,  chinese-style tofu
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon shoyu
- 2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
- tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- Dash of cayenne or chile oil (optional)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts (for garnish)

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