Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rice paper rolls and grilled tofu

Last week, my 5 Things I would Like to Make list brought us vegan chocolate mousse.

This week, I'm moving backwards, from dessert to savoury, from chocolate to rice paper rolls.

Before I do so, though, I hope you'll forgive me for pausing a minute to discuss tofu. The tofu that went in these rice paper rolls, to be precise.

This tofu:

It raised some serious questions. Why have I never grilled tofu before? Why do I not own a Scanpan stovetop grill? Why did grilling work so much better than stir frying, when I've always thought of tofu as a stir frying food?

You may be able to guess that I liked this tofu a lot.

The thing is, I didn't do anything particularly special to it. I marinated it in what was on hand in my parent's kitchen, which equated to sweet chilli sauce and a teriyaki marinade sauce that mostly consisted of soy sauce. Clearly, nothing fancy.

I am thus concluding that it was the grilling that was the key component, and only wish I'd caught on to this method of preparation sooner. I'm generally years behind other people with these sorts of discoveries, and I suspect this is no exception!

The Best Tofu I've Made To Date

300g pack of extra firm tofu, sliced

Pressed between tea towels and under heavy books for 30 minutes

Marinated in sweet chilli sauce (~3 tbsp) and teriyaki / soy sauce (~3 tbsp) for 4 hours

Grilled for ~10 minutes, turning regularly, until browned

To be eaten plain, added to stir fry, or used in rice paper rolls

Now that I've introduced the main ingredient, let me move on...

Rice paper rolls

As I mentioned in my original post, I made these once some years back. At that time, I found them to be quite fiddly, possibly as a result of my younger age, and possibly because I made 20 or so at once.

This time around, I made 6. Perhaps because of that, perhaps because of age, or perhaps just because, I found the process to be fairly easy. The only slightly fiddly aspect (which isn't really fiddly at all) is chopping the vegetables, and that's no different to chopping vegetables for any other dish.

Ingredients - to make 6

6 rice paper wrappers

2 carrots, finely sliced

1 small capsicum, finely sliced

1/2 - 1 cup lettuce, shredded

1/2 - 1 cup bean sprouts

A few mushrooms, sliced

Any other vegetables you like

Grilled tofu, as above

Mint and coriander

Soy sauce and/or sweet chilli sauce, extra


Fill a shallow dish or curved dinner plate with warm water, and lay out a tea towel.

Place 1 sheet of rice paper in the warm water and allow to soften - approximately 30 seconds. Place on the tea towel and put the next sheet of paper in the water, to soften in advance.

In the middle of the softened rice paper sheet, place a strip of tofu and an assortment of vegetables. Add mint and coriander, and any other flavourings as desired.

Fold in the bottom end, the left side, the top end, and then the right side. Hold together and turn the roll over, so the rolled in sides are underneath. 

Repeat for the remaining rolls, and serve with extra dipping sauce as desired.

A lot of rice paper rolls include vermicelli noodles too, but I didn't feel the need to add them here.

If I do say so myself, they were delicious! I will definitely be making these again, and can't believe I put it off for so long.

It's really rather fun to think I can now do these at home, and experiment with fillings and flavours as I like. There are certainly advantages in self-preparing things, even though I'm all for easy / purchased lunches at times.

Do you make rice paper rolls? Or grill tofu? Do you have any favourite flavourings for either?


  1. I do make rice paper rolls, I fill them with chinese roast duck, cucumber, bean shoots and hoi sin sauce and they are a bit like peking duck pancakes.

    The thing I have to agree with you on is why don't I own a Scanpan stovetop grill? Oh how I want one of those.

  2. Gee, this is so fun commenting on a Wednesday post when it is only Tuesday where I live. :D

    Anyway, your food looks scrumptious and healthy.

    :-) Marion

  3. Oooh, I've never grilled tofu either! It looks very yummy, as do your rice paper rolls. Mine never taste as good as those I've bought, but maybe like you I should try again - it has been a little while since I made them :-) x

  4. I've never grilled tofu...and I don't know why!!! I love tofu and I love everything it sounds like the perfect idea. Too bad I don't have a grill :( I would love to grill some portobello shrooms, too!

  5. Teehee, everyone always raevs about pressed tofu, and yet I keep just opening the packet, crumbling it up with various condiments, and eating it cold... Make your kind for me?

  6. love rice paper rolls and made them a few times last summer so will summer upon us I hope I will return to making them - I have made them quite plain and then made up a dipping sauce - esp when making them for friends with lots of allergies

    but I am fascinated by your parents' grill - I want one and have lingered over them in the stores but they always look so impractical for my kitchen - too big and do they sit over one or two burners? But I love the look of the ridges

  7. @affectionforfitness
    Hehe, I love those sort of date things :) And thank you for stopping by!

  8. @Brooke
    I would recommend a repeat effort! It paid off well in my case.

  9. @Alexis @ hummusapien
    Ooh...I might have to try the mushrooms before I finish house sitting and leave the grill behind.

  10. @Hannah
    But of course! I'll even take you for frozen yoghurt afterwards :)

    Your version, though, does at least have speed on its time. And efficiency!

  11. @Johanna GGG
    They do sit over two burners, so if you have a 2 x 2 hot plate it would sit either over one half (I had it on the front two). It packs away easily though, which gives it an advantage over so many appliances I eye off - it can just go into a drawer or similar.

  12. Love Vietnamese food - it's my favourite and I like the idea of grilling the tofu too. I haven't used it since my last botched effort!

  13. These look fantastic! Have been meaning to have a go at making rice paper rolls but think I will wait for the weather to warm up a bit now. I feel they will be good to make on a summer night when it's too hot for cooking. Will definitely try some grilled tofu in them, thanks for the tip!

  14. Hmmm, I haven't tried grilling tofu yet, but sure sounds like I need to!

  15. I have to admit, I've not used rice paper rolls this way. I've seen the method many times but not tried. I do like the look of this recipe, but sadly won't be making it as tofu is not high on my husbands fave list. So I will just have to admrie yours.

  16. I LOVE sweet chili sauce! These look great :)

  17. get out of town! :-) I was making these all last weekend. Grilled tofu in Vietnamese rolls :-)
    Healthy and delicious.

  18. @Liz@LastChanceTraining
    I think I need to make more Vietnamese things actually...these reminded me how much I like it as a cuisine.

  19. @Mel
    Definitely a perfect match for summer. And much more exciting than the salad-type things I often end up doing when the weather is hot!

  20. @Carolyn
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who hadn't grilled tofu yet! I hope you enjoy it if you do.

  21. @Shaheen
    You could probably make them with egg omelette strips instead...but my partner doesn't like tofu either and I just made them for myself :D

  22. @spinachandspice
    I haven't found much that sweet chilli sauce doesn't go on (in the savoury category anyway!).

  23. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    Good minds think alike? :-) Healthy and delicious does indeed sum them up.


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