Friday, September 15, 2006

Spring Rolls w/ Dipping Sauce, Lotus Root, Chinese Celery and Bunashimeji Mushroom Soup, Mashed Potatoes wrapped in Yuba Sheets

Dinner 9/15

Spring Rolls w/ Dipping Sauce
(carrot, napa cabbage, bean shoots, ginger, garlic, sesame oil; sauce -- agave, sriracha, tamari, sesame oil)

Lotus Root

Chinese Celery and Bunashimeji Mushroom Soup

Mashed Potatoes wrapped in Yuba Sheets
(see below)

We went to CAM Supermarket in North Randall today -- a huge Chinese market (about the same size as Tink Holl) and loaded up the cart with some pantry items (rice, sesame oil, baby corn, dried mushrooms, frozen yuba sheets) and tried out some of their fresh produce (Chinese Celery, Bunashimeji "Crab" Mushrooms, Lotus Root). It's a cool store -- as long as you stay away from the live fish and packaged meat area...

We made a quick lemongrass and fennel stock and used that as the base for the soup made with Chinese celery (like regular celery, but with more leaves and very pronounced aromatics) and the fresh Crab Mushrooms (sort of like enoki on steriods) topped with stir-fried tofu and scallions.

Usually when we get fresh lotus root, we make chips, but we were already deep-frying the spring rolls and yuba sheets, so I found as recipe that calls for blanching slightly larger slices in water, then poaching them in a mix of chile oil, sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar and agave. This is then chilled and served at room temp. A nice crunchy texture with a kick.

The spring rolls were quick and easy -- Liz has got these down to a science...

Finally, the yuba sheet and mashed potatoes -- where do I even start with this one? First let me say the yuba sheets, which were HUGE, were exactly the ones I've been looking for since I first saw them on the original Iron Chef series with Michiba-san. The round sheets were supple, not brittle like the dried or other frozen ones I've used in the past. A joy to use -- just think of them as the Chinese version of phyllo...

Anyway the recipe was pulled deep from our cookbook archives -- it comes from a 1960's era cookbook and suggests serving it with ketchup or worcestershire sauce (!). It's really as simple as making mashed potatoes and rolling them in the yuba and deep-frying for 3-4 minutes. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. Sort of Samosa-esque. Would I make them again? Probably not, but you never know... ;)

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