This recipe is a case of “do as I say and not as I do.”
You see, I make baked spring rolls all the time with frozen and thawed tofu that ‘s been left over from other recipes. I usually keep it in the freezer until I also have some cabbage I need to use up, and then all I need are some frozen spring roll wrappers and ingredients that I always have around. For some reason I never got around posting the recipe on the blog.
When Nupur suggested spring rolls for this month’s From Fried to Favourite, I thought I’d try a variation on them. I replaced the tofu with some steamed edamame and corn; the filling was so pretty with the bright green soybeans. I rolled and baked two right away and took photos of them for the post. Then I rolled up the remaining ones and baked them for supper. Nearly every one of them burst open in the oven, splitting lengthwise and exposing the filling like a baked potato.
I suspect the problem is that I use a stir-fry sauce in the filling. The porous previously-frozen tofu was probably absorbing the extra moisture, and when I used whole veggies instead, there was too much steam inside the spring rolls. So, while the picture up there is of the two that didn’t burst, the actual recipe is my tried and true.
One thing that makes baked spring rolls especially good is using the right wrapper. The best for baking are the TYJ Spring Roll Pastry wrappers that are always sold frozen. You should be able to find them in any Asian market and some supermarkets with a frozen international foods section. These result in a baked spring roll that’s light and crispy (and vegan). I like to serve these with any simple noodle recipe or roasted broccoli.
Baked Tofu Springrolls
You can also use 4 cups of baked cole slaw veggies in place of the cabbage and carrot. If you use whole cabbage and carrots, the slicing disk of a food processor makes quick work of shredding them.
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon oil for the pan, plus extra for brushing the spring rolls
8 ounces of tofu, frozen and thawed
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
9 spring roll wrappers, about 1/2 a package
Black or white sesame seeds (optional)
Rinse the dried shiitakes and place them in a small bowl. Cover them in boiling water and set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Drain and slice into thin strips, discarding the tough stem. Squeeze as much water as you can from the tofu and crumble. Whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar.
Heat oil in a large skillet or a wok. Sauté the mushrooms for a minute. Add tofu and a couple of tablespoons of the sauce, stir and cook for another minute or two. Add cabbage and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until the volume of cabbage is reduced by about a third, but it is still somewhat crisp. Add the rest of the soy sauce mixture and continue to cook and stir until the liquid appears to be absorbed. Set filling aside to cool enough to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil a baking sheet. Have a small bowl of water at hand. Place a wrapper with one of the corners facing you. Spread 1/3 cup of the filling across the wrapper from left to right and fold the left and right corners toward the middle. Fold the front corner toward the back and roll up the spring roll firmly (but not so tight as to tear the wrapper.) Just before rolling up the last of the wrapper, dip your fingers into the water and wet the last corner to seal the spring roll. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
Brush the spring rolls lightly with oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake for 6 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.
Serves 3 as a meal or 9 as a snack.