225gm tempeh (fermented soy beans), cut through the middle
1 cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
handful basil leaves
handful mint leaves
handful shiso (perilla) leaves (if possible!)
several crunchy lettuce leaves (cos lettuce is great)
2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
12 rice paper sheets
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
1/2 lemon or lime juice
2-3 tbsp brown rice vinegar
Each year when the weather warms up, I remember again how wonderful rice paper rolls are. Fresh, simple and very adaptable to whatever is at hand. Recently I have given up on including the traditional rice noodles, as I always want to stack them with too many extra flavours and they invariably burst. But of course add noodles if you like (just soften to the directions on the pack).
These ones are filled with spicy chilli tempeh, plenty of crunchy veggies and lots of fresh herbs. Fill them with any combinations you like – tofu, grilled chicken, thinly cooked egg or avocado. And if you are feeding a few people then I recommend just slicing the vegetables and let everyone assemble their own at the table. Kids of all ages love that.
*The main trick with rice paper rolls is to soften the sheets of rice paper just enough. I use warm water (not too hot) in a wide pan or bowl and submerge the sheets for about 10 seconds. Note – if you leave them soaking too long they like to stick together and rip.
Tempeh Rice Paper Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Fry the tempeh in a little sesame oil until it browns, then slice into lengths. Submerge a rice paper sheet into a shallow pan of hot water until it just begins to soften. Place the softened sheet on a plate or wet tea towel, and make a nice horizontal stack of your chopped ingredients in the centre. Whatever you place down first will be most visible at the end, so keep that in mind if you want to impress your guests or mark the difference between vegan/non-vegan rolls, for instance. And try to resist the urge to pile too much into each one. Just a little bit of everything, with lots of herbs.
Then with wet fingers, fold the 2 sides in so that they just touch, and then firmly fold over the bottom and roll up. Set aside and repeat!
Mix up the ingredients for the peanut dressing, adding a dash of water if you prefer a runnier sauce. A simple vinegar, fish sauce and fresh chilli dipping sauce is more traditional I suppose but this one is really tasty – as long as peanuts are OK with everyone.