Lately it’s been really hot in New York. Like, your-work-blouse-sticking-to-your-back-at-8:30 am hot. When the weather is like this, all I want to do is a) eat a pint of blueberries in lieu of dinner or b) order in sushi. But here’s a solution: a summer roll with golden pan-fried tofu pieces and colorful, crunchy raw veggies from the farmer’s market. The only cooking you need to do is frying the tofu, and the rest is as easy as washing and peeling veggies. It’s incredibly light because each rice wrapper has just 100 calories, and zero gluten. And the whole cost of dinner is just $4 for two people–only $2 per person! A true all-around winner.
Colorful Summer Roll with Tofu and Raw Veggies
2 servings (4 rolls)
8 sheets dry rice paper wrappers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 block organic extra firm tofu
8 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium carrot
1 medium kirby cucumber
4 small French radishes (regular radishes or Japanese turnips can be substituted)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onions or cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
1. Slice tofu into strips about 1/2 inch thick. Heat oil in a nonstick pan, and fry the tofu pieces over medium heat. Flip the tofu once the first side turns golden brown, after about 6 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms to the pan after flipping the tofu, and cook together for another 5-8 minutes. Salt and pepper generously and take off the heat.
2. In the meantime, wash and trim all the vegetables. Using a vegetable peeler, make thin strips of the carrot and the cucumber. Slice the radishes into 1/16″ rounds.
4. Place a clean plate on the counter. Take a sheet of rice paper wrapper and hold it under cold, gently running water for about 5 seconds or until reasonably wet. Place it on the clean plate, and then repeat with a second wrapper, layering it over the first wrapper. The wrapper base should be moist but not too wet.
5. Put tofu and mushrooms in the middle of the wrapper. Add carrot and cucumber strips, and radish slices. Carefully fold over top and bottom of the sheet, then roll it like a log, sealing the ends together.
6. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar. You can throw in the green onions, sesame seeds, or cilantro too. Now you’re done! Bon appetit!
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling