This incredibly hot weather is perfect for a meal such as spring rolls, don´t you think? It doesn´t involve a whole lot of cooking, just prepare the filling and then roll away. The rolls are eaten at room temperature or even chilled if you wish. I used rice paper wrappers which you can purchase at an Asian shop.
For the filling I soaked some dried yuba (tofu skin) sticks in water for a couple of hours and cut them into about 3 cm long pieces. I sauteed half of a medium sized onion (cut into half moons) in about 2 tbsp of oil, until softened, then added the yuba and fried until the yuba became a bit crispy. I stirred in a sauce prepared by mixing 1 tbsp of organic coarse mustard with 1/2 tbsp of tamari, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and a pinch of chilli powder. I added about half of a carrot cut into matchsticks, sauteed some more, and towards the end mixed in shredded young cabbage and chinese cabbage and let it heat through. Spoon a bit of the mixture into the centre of the wrapper (you need to first soak them in warm water for a minute or two, but be careful that they don´t stick to each other and don´t let them soak very long) and fold into an envelope shape. They will become less wet on the air and will seal nicely. But it certainly is a thing where you need some practice 😀
Yup, it was that time again! Time for yuba!! You can see how I make it in this recipe.
I served it with bulghur, which is a cracked wheat, very easy and fast to cook, so great for those days when you don´t have much time. It was my first time eating bulghur and it´s rather tasty with a pleasant crunch.
Just sautee onion (on water or oil, if you wish) with a pinch of salt, then add desired veggies (I used carrot, celery stalk, green beans and leek, all finely chopped) and sautee a bit more while stirring, just for 2-3 minutes. Add bulghur and toast for another 2-3 minutes adding water if necessary. Then add a double amount of water (for 1 cup bulghur use 2 cups water) and more salt, for flavour. Simmer under a lid for 15-20 minutes. Turn the fire off and mix in fresh chopped parsley (a lot!) and chopped rucola.
I already posted a recipe for glazed yuba on this blog, you can find it here. This time I made this one just for my boyfriend (except that I used half white flour and half whole-wheat flour for tempura batter, as he is not sensitive to gluten). For myself I made an oil-free and less-yin version 😀 I just soaked the yuba strips overnight, making sure they are fully covered by water, cut them up into bite-size pieces and then I cooked them in 1 tbsp of shoyu, 1 tbsp of mirin, 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp of rice malt (instead of maple syrup) and a bit of water, so the yuba was almost submerged. I first cooked the yuba for a while with a lid on and then let the liquid slowly evaporate with a lid off. It was almost as tasty as my boyfriend´s deep-fried version!
I served the yuba on soba noodles, with water-sauteed veggies (onion, leek, broccoli, carrot and cabbage).
This meal was rated as one of my best creations by my (picky and not so macro) boyfriend. so you better watch out for this gem!
I attempted making dishes out of yuba already twice before making this one, but it was always a big failure, mostly because I didn´t know that the dried yuba (“skin” or layer on top of tofu during the tofu production) has to be soaked really long and thoroughly to soften up. This time I played safe and soaked it all night long in a large bowl of water, pressed down by a small plate so that none of the yuba sticks out of the water 😀 It became really soft and flexible!
Then I proceeded to cover it in tempura batter (in my case glutenfree batter of white rice flour and water mixed until you get a somewhat runny but not too thin consistency) and deep-fry it until golden. Meanwhile in a saucepan I heated up slowly 1 tbsp of tamari, 1 tbsp of mirin, 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup with some water (so that the liquid is about 2 cm high). I transferred the pieces of yuba into the liquid, stirred to coat well and simmered until all the liquid evaporated and created a glaze looking like caramel. Be careful not to burn the sauce. Yuba prepared this way tastes nothing like “tofu skin”, it´s actually pretty good as a poultry substitute I´d even say, and it is used that way in oriental cuisine.
I served the tempura with brown rice and steamed veggies.
On November 3rd I went really wild with my lunch, just listen!
I pressure cooked short grain brown rice with amaranth. Ok, not special. And lesson learnt – amaranth needs really a lot of water, even in the pressure cooker! It was a bit too dry and undercooked thanks to that…
I sauteed (without oil) chopped fennel, leek, green beans and pointed cabbage, and seasoned with dried coriander. Ok, also, not so special, I should have added more water while sautéing, since I didn´t use any oil…
But then it starts getting interesting – it was the first time I used yuba, which is dried soya bean curd (the top layer of soymilk when you make tofu, something like a thick tofu cream layer…dried into yellow sticks, or sheets). First you have to reconstitute it for about half an hour, by soaking in water. Then you can do lots of things with it, similar as with tofu or tempeh…I just fried it on some oil and seasoned with tamari. But boy, does that yuba need a lot of soaking time! Next time more time needed…
The best part of the lunch (the only TRULY successful part) was the seaweed. I soaked hiziki (again, needs soaking to reconstitute, but perhaps 10-15 minutes are enough), then cooked it with a part of its soaking water, together with diced onion and diced butternut squash, for about half an hour or even a bit longer. At the end I sprinkled in some toasted pumpkin seeds and mixed in a sauce of diluted shiro miso (young miso) and rice malt, mmmmm!! Sounds pretty freaky I know, but actually this combination was really good, slightly sweet but complimenting the hiziki more than I would expect…