Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cooking Adventures

I've decided to give you some pictures of the stuff I make at home sometimes for myself - I'm out sick from work at the moment so I have to entertain myself somehow, so rambling on this blog seems the best way to remedy my boredom.

So I made some springs rolls last week. I'm a coeliac, and I'm allergic to eggs, so a lot of the time I have to improvise and be creative about making things that are traditionally packed full of both, eg springs rolls, pastries, cakes, various pasta creations. Also really bold things like onion rings etc. It requires some creativity and a willingness to eat creations that turn out kinda gross now and then - but I love that, and there's nothing more fun for me than being up in the middle of the night experimenting with batters and cakes that I can eat!

So, the spring rolls. There are two problems with the traditional spring rolls in Chinese restaurants - the roll part and the soya sauce. Both contain wheat, which contains public enemy number 1 - Gluten. :)

To get around this at home I use rice paper for the roll part. See picture below:

These can be purchased from any Asian store (check to make sure there's no gluten ingredients) and some health stores (these are more likely to be marked gluten free).

The rice paper has to be soaked in water, I use a plate and I put dissolve some sugar in the warm water to improve the texture of the paper when it's rolled. I soak it in the water until it's soft, then put it on a clean tea towel and dry the excess, then move it to a cutting board (or a big smooth plate) to receive the yummy ingredients.

What I like to put in mine are things like beansprouts, carrots, sweetcorn, some spring onions etc, but little pieces of chicken or prawn or pork or anything else you can think of really would be fairly delicious!

Here's a picture of my chopped up ingredients, because I like photos:

To tackle the soya sauce issue I use Tamari soya sauce - available in health stores and some supermarkets and also Asian stores. It's Gluten free and just as yummy as regular stuff. You can even get lo-salt variants of it if you're feeling health conscious (although if you ask me, if you're eating deep fried spring rolls then using lo-salt is a bit like drinking diet coke with your 4 Big Macs).

I stir fry all the veg together and then spoon the mix in the the centre of the rolled out rice paper. If you use too much the spring roll is guaranteed to explode when you deep fry them, so just make sure to only use a small to medium amount - you can make more spring rolls that are smaller and less likely to go boom in the pan.

Fold the paper over the filling, roll once, turn the sides in top of it and then roll up fully.

Try and make sure that the least amount of air is allowed into the roll. This minimises the explosion risk. They look something like this once they're rolled (mine are not the neatest, the first one is always dodgy but then I get into the swing of things!)

As I don't have a deep fat fryer I fried up the spring rolls in a wok using A LOT of oil, basically creating a fake deep fat fryer really! I don't think it would be good for me to own a deep fat fryer, I'd probably need a prying stick and a forklift to leave the house after a few months.

I usually fry them for 2 minutes on each side - they don't turn as brown as regular spring rolls, and not as hard but they do get deliciously crispy.

Drain them, rub them with some kitchen towel (very greasy otherwise) and then serve with some soya sauce and sweet chilli on the side.

I'm afraid the springs rolls were one of the meals I forgot to take "after" photos of - after photos will come soon when I make them again!

As the Cookie Monster says - Om nom nom nom nom!

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