When I was invited to a good friend’s leaving picnic, this recipe for Black Tea Spring Rolls jumped to mind. Baked spring rolls in crispy wrappers – my Saturday night special. Making mini rolls requires a bit more effort but the results are worth it – especially for Anaïs, my friend’s daughter, who took one, rammed it in her mouth and followed it with another nine. So a fond farewell to Ivy and her lovely daughter – see you in Toronto next year for either the Toronto or Niagara Falls marathon. Training already!
Making these is a little fiddly the first time round but it does get easier, particularly the folding part.
1 teaspoon of black tea leaves, preferably Lapsang Souchong
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 pound or about 500 grams of mushrooms
8 ounces of extra-firm tofu, crumbled or finely chopped
2 handfuls of spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons shoyu sauce
12 wonton or 6 or so larger spring roll wrappers (you might need to go to a Chinese grocery store for these)
¾ cup mango chutney
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
A pinch of black tea leaves
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6
- Grind the tea leaves into a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok or saucepan, add in sesame oil, shallots, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for 5 or so minutes
- Stir in the tofu, spinach and shoyu until evenly spread; taste and add in a little more shoyu sauce if need be. Season with a few big pinches of the black tea but make sure you reserve some for the dipping sauce
- To assemble the spring rolls, place a wrapper in front of you so it looks like a diamond. Place a couple of tablespoons of the filling in the corner nearest you. Take that corner and fold it over the filling, then roll it once away from you. Fold the left and right hand corner and continue rolling away from you. Dab a bit of water on the inside of that last loose corner to seal.
- Arrange the spring rolls seam down on a baking sheet of paper. Brush with a little sesame oil, and bake for 10 minutes or so, turning each roll halfway through to get both sides brown and crispy.
- Make the dipping sauce by combining the mango chutney, vinegar and ground tea together in a small bowl.
- Serve the spring rolls ideally hot, with the dipping sauce alongside.
Feel free to play around with the balance of ingredients. I don’t worry about grinding the tea leaves. Sometimes I put in a bit more tofu, or I have some extra spinach that needs to be used up. Or if cooking for me, I’ll make BIG spring rolls. For a party, I’ll cut the spring roll wrappers into quarters to make them bite size.
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Cooking.