I love spring rolls. I love eggplant. And I love tofu. The combination of all three is pretty much the perfect meal for me.
This recipe is definitely a fusion of many different cuisines so don’t take it as anything authentic. It was basically born out of my attempt to use up a bunch of different bottles in my fridge. I used the same marinade I use in my baked tofu on the eggplant, and I still LOVE the flavor. Black vinegar is just something else!
You can definitely change any of the fillings in this recipe. I would highly recommend adding rice noodles as well, because we can all use more carbs. Carrots would be really tasty too, but only the good carrots, not those ones that taste weird. Does anyone else ever get weird tasting carrots?
Now I’m rambling. Here’s the recipe!
• 1 large Italian eggplant, sliced into two inch by 1 inch sticks and salted for 20 minutes (or 2 Ichiban eggplants)
• 2 tbsp neutral oil
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tbsp hoisin sauce (sub ketchup)
• 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
• 1 tbsp black vinegar
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 14 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed
• 2 tbsp neutral oil
• 2 tbsp sambal oelek (or Sriracha)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• about 12 small spring roll wrappers (bahn trang)
• 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
• about 1.5 cups basil leaves
• 12 lettuce leaves (Romaine or Buttercrunch)
• peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce to serve
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Salt eggplant and let sweat in a colander. Pat dry. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over eggplant. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, stirring and checking occasionally.
2. Slice tofu into thin 2 inch length. Heat a skillet over high heat and add oil. Add tofu and pour sambal and soy sauce in the skillet. Cook each side about 5 minutes, until crisp.
3. Prep cucumber and basil, and prepare dipping sauce of choice. Wet your rice wrapper under warm water for about 15 seconds and place on a plate. Add toppings, and when wrapper is limp (but not completely soft) roll bottom upwards over filling. I do crunchy leaves, cucumber/hard fillings, and soft fillings last. It doesn’t matter too much what order you use.
Fold sides in, then continue rolling.
4. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients, until filling runs out. Serve with dipping sauce, and an IPA, like Hop Hunter IPA.