The last time I made a pantry and freezer list, it looked like I had the makings for some spring rolls. I searched the web for a new filling recipe that would use my ingredients, and came across Vietnamese Cha Gio, or Imperial Rolls. I had never heard of these before, as they always contain meat. They’re also typically made with rice paper wrappers and fried. I wanted to bake these, so I used TYJ spring roll wrappers. (You can find these frozen in any Asian Market and in many well-stocked supermarkets.)
When I make something new that deviates this much from the recipe that originally inspired me, I write it out longhand. Then I follow along, and make corrections to what I’ve written. Sometimes, I have to ball up the recipe and throw it away. This one, though, was great the first time I made it.
2 teaspoons canola oil, plus more for brushing the spring rolls
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
4 or 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 ounces bean thread noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 sheet toasted nori, minced
In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Sauté shallots, carrot and garlic until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Add about 2 inches of water to the saucepan, bring to a boil, and add tempeh. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add bean thread noodles and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain.
Finely chop the mushrooms, discarding the tough stems. Add to the shallot mixure in the bowl. Mash tempeh with a fork or potato masher and add to bowl. Add noodles. Stir in soy sauce, white pepper, sugar and minced nori.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Have some water in a small bowl handy. Place a spring roll wrapper in front of you diagonally. Spread about 1/3 cup filling in the middle. Fold the left and right corners over the filling, then fold the front toward the back. Roll up. Dip your fingers in the water and moisten the last corner before sealing the spring rolls.
Brush each spring roll lightly with canola oil and place in an oiled pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, turning over once, until lightly golden.