Fresh Rolls w/ Marinated Tofu & Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Yield: 20 fresh rolls
1 400g block firm tofu, cut into sticks approximately 2 inches long and ½ inch square
¼ cup canola oil
1 large carrot, julienned
1 handful pea greens, torn if large leaves
Assorted fresh herbs, such as cilantro, mint, and Thai basil
Finely sliced Thai bird or serrano chili peppers (optional)
20 dried spring roll rice paper wrappers
½ cup shelled peanuts
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 medium cloves garlic
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
Dry chili flakes, to taste (optional)
1. Place tofu in a large colander and set in the sink. Pour 1 quart boiling water over tofu sticks and let rest for 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel–lined tray and press dry. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add tofu and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp on all surfaces, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
2. Make the dipping sauce: Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a 375°F oven until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Combine sugar and garlic in the mortar and pound with the pestle into a smooth paste. Add peanuts and pound to form a chunky paste. Add soy sauce, sambal oelek, peanut butter, and tamarind concentrate and firmly stir until a chunky mixture is formed. Add canola oil and stir to combine. Add water to thin to a pourable but still thick consistency. Adjust heat with chili flakes, if desired.
3. Transfer drained tofu to a large bowl and add 5 tablespoons peanut-tamarind sauce. Toss to coat tofu.
4. Transfer tofu, carrots, greens, herbs, peanuts, peppers, and remaining dipping sauce to serving platters. Serve with rice paper wrappers and a bowl of warm water.
5. To assemble: dip a rice paper wrapper in warm water until moist on all surfaces, then transfer to your plate. Place a small amount of desired fillings in the center. Roll the front edge of the wrapper over the filling away from you, then fold the right side over toward the center. Continue rolling until a tight roll with one open end has formed. Dip spring roll in dipping sauce as you eat.