In honor of the Chinese New Year, we are making a fun appetizer. Whenever we have some cabbage, carrots and mushrooms (which is pretty much all the time), we like to make either a stir fry or eggrolls but we don’t always feel like deep frying. So instead, we prepare the filling and break out a package of rice paper to make crispy vegetable bundles that can be served as appetizers (if you make them small) or for lunch with a nice dipping sauce.
Did you know that there are several ways to use rice paper besides making summer rolls? Wrapping your favorite filling and pan frying is one. You can also deep or air fry it. Another way I use it is to break some chunks in a soup for instant noodles! I make a pretty killer vegan bacon with it too! It’s fun to play with it.
So for these bundles, you will need to finely shred vegetables like green, red cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and cook them first with some seasonings.
You want most of the moisture from the vegetables to be evaporated, so do not use a lid when stir frying.
It is good to let the cooked vegetables cool down before making the bundles.
How to use rice paper
Handle carefully from the store to the house since it is very brittle! It is best to store it flat with space around so that nothing can chip the edges. But don’t worry, if you have broken ones, just throw them in soup and they will become soft rice noodles. So don’t ever throw them away!
The trick with rice paper is to have everything ready, a clean surface and to work quickly. It only takes 5-6 seconds for the brittle sheet to start softening and you need to fill and fold your bundles as it softens. Too early and it won’t bend and too late and it will too soft. No worry, rice paper is cheap and after you make a few bundles you will have it down.
I like to use wide frying pan filled with warm water. A clean wood cutting board and towel nearby to wipe off water drips from the bowl to the board.
Quickly dip the rice paper in the water rotating it. Place it on a cutting board. Add 2-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the sheet and fold the bottom up, then left and right side tightly around the filling, until the bundle is complete. Repeat with a second sheet.
Heat up a frying pan with some oil. Place a few bundles at a time leaving some space in between. Pan fry uncovered for a few minutes, flipping as they cook to make sure all sides are nice and crisp.
– Use 2 sheets of rice paper (one isn’t strong enough).
– Do not add liquid seasoning while or after the bundle have been fried as they will turn soggy. They will taste great but could break apart.
– Make sure to season the filling well and cook until most of the moisture from the vegetables has evaporated. This will ensure that the bundles stay crisp.
Serve immediately with the mustard dipping sauce. Sprinkle with chopped green onions or cilantro.
Quick Crispy Vegetable Bundles
- 10 sheets of rice paper (round or square)
- warm water
Mustard Dipping sauce
- 3 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp Chinese or Dijon prepared mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp siracha or chili paste (optional)
- 2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
- 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 large carrots finely julienne or shredded
- 4-6 sliced mushrooms (white caps, shiitake...)
- 4-5 stalks of chopped green onion
- 1-2 cloved of garlic minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 cup extra firm tofu cut in thin strips
- Whisk all the ingredients together until the mustard is blended.
Prepare the filling
- Peel and shred the carrot, shred the green and red cabbage.
- Chop the green onion.
- Remove the stems and slice the mushrooms.
- Wrap the tofu in a clean towel and press for a few minutes. Cut into matchsticks.
- Pan-fry the tofu and sliced mushroom in a little oil, sprinkle some salt until lightly crisp. Set aside.
- Using the same pan, fry the cabbage, garlic, sesame oil, carrot, half of the green onions, sprinkle some salt, and white pepper until they release some of their juice.
- Cook a little longer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the tofu and mushroom, and stir. Remove from heat.
- Set aside for a few minute to cool down.
Assemble the bundles
- Set up your work space. Clean cutting board, a large frying pan filled with warm water and a clean towel.
- Place the filling in a bowl with 2 soup spoons.
- Quickly dip a sheet of rice paper in the water rotating it.
- Place it on a cutting board. Add 2-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the sheet.
- Fold the bottom up, then left and right side tightly around the filling, until the bundle is complete.
- Repeat with a second sheet.
- Heat up a frying pan with some oil, place each bundle leaving some space in between.
- Pan fry uncovered for a few minutes, flipping as they cook to make sure all sides are nice and crispy.
- Sprinkle with remaining chopped green onion, and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.