I'm going to start off with one of my favorite meals. Salad rolls! I adapted these from a restaurant I eat at all the time in Santa Cruz, Ca. These are great to make in hot weather since they are served cool and are super refreshing. They may be intimidating at first if you have never worked with rice paper, but don't worry- I will walk you through it.
You will need:
3 large carrots
6-8 large pieces of Romain lettuce
1 packet of Tempeh
As much fresh basil as you can get
Silver dollar sized amount of Udon noodles
Hoison Sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 cup of Roasted (unsalted) Peanuts, chopped
3/4 cup of Teriyaki Sauce (I use Soy Vay brand)
Makes about 12 rolls, serves 4.
If you cannot find tempeh you can sub in tofu.
Heat a medium size frying pan. Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Cut the tempeh into small rectangles, roughly 1" in length (if you are using tofu cut it into bigger strips roughly 3" long). Cook the tempeh in the frying pan with the teriyaki sauce for 15-20 mins or until tempeh is slightly crispy. Add the udon noodles to boiling water, cook until soft and then drain.
While the tempeh and Udon noodles cook, you can prepare the raw ingredients. Grate the carrots with a cheese grater, slice the Romain lettuce into thin, long strips, and roughly chop the basil. You will also want to cut your avocados into cubes and chop the peanuts up.
Now that all your ingredients have been prepared, fill a large saucepan with water (only an inch or so, you don't need very much) and turn the heat on low. Once the water is warm (make sure it is not hot!) submerge a rice paper wrapper in the water and let stand until it is completely soft. Once it is soft, carefully remove it from the water and place flat on a plate. Try not to fold or rip the wrapper as you do this. Now add a small amounts of all carrots, avocado, basil, tempeh, udon noodles and lettuce to the center of the wrapper (as if you were making a burrito).
Now, fold the side of your wrapper on the left and on the right. Holding these folds in place pull the side of the wrapper closest to you over the bulk of the "burrito" and roll. The wrapper shoudl stick to itself and seal up. If you find that your wrapper is not sticking to itself it could be one of two problems. Either you did not cook your wrapper long enough or the wrapper is too wet. If your wrapper is very wet, let it sit out on the plate for a minute or so and it will dry a little and become more sticky.
If you aren't successful making your first roll, just take the ingredients out and try again with a new wrapper. If you are feeling discouraged, just laugh about how the rice paper looks and feels like a condom.