Gluten-free, vegan and healthy rice paper rolls filled with mushrooms and spinach.
I’ve always thought it’s a wise idea to know one’s limits. That’s not to say you can’t improve and go beyond those limits, but it’s good to know what’s realistically possible today.
Today I’m here to say that I’m no expert on Chinese food. Sure, I’ve eaten plenty of it. But I’m undoubtedly a novice when it comes to cooking any kind of Asian cuisine.
However, it’s Chinese New Year and feel like acknowledging it the best I can (even if that means posting a non-breakfast recipe on my breakfast blog). So, today’s post is all about these Chinese-inspired Mushroom Rice Paper Rolls.
Actually, this recipe should really be called: Claudia’s Totally Non-Traditional, Chinese Dumpling-Inspired Rolls, Which are Made Using Rice Paper Because My Stomach is a Jerk and Won’t Tolerate Gluten Properly.
But that seemed a little too long.
I may not know much about Chinese New Year, but one thing I do know is that dumplings = money. Dumplings symbolize wealth, so eating lots of dumplings sounds like a good idea to me.
From what I can gather, dumplings are usually made using wheat flour-based wrappers. As someone with a plethora of stomach problems (which I still hope will magically go away one day), I was looking for a gluten-free alternative. Enter rice paper.
Of course, rolls aren’t dumplings, but they’re close enough for me. Plus, you could turn these into larger-than-usual dumplings if you’d prefer.
Alternatively, if rolls or dumplings seem too fiddly to you, then the mushroom filling would also be great paired with noodles.
Noodles are supposed to symbolize a long life, and that’s almost as good as money, right?
While you could eat these rice paper rolls cold – as is the norm for rice paper rolls – I prefer to heat them up.
The easiest way to warm up these rolls is in the microwave. As it depends on your microwave and how many rolls you’re heating up at once, I’m afraid I can’t provide much guidance on heating times. Just start with a very short amount of time, and take it from there.
Otherwise, if you have a bamboo steamer you could steam these rolls. (Don’t try this with a regular steamer, though).
Either way, be careful with them! Rice paper is insanely delicate, and super, super sticky.
Regardless of whether you’re an expert on all things Chinese or someone whose knowledge extends to reading the takeout menu, I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Happy Year of the Sheep, Ram or Goat! (Whichever one it is).
- 1 shallot bulb
- 1 pound (450g) button mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce*
- ⅛ teaspoon dried chili flakes (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons water
- 4 cups spinach
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 10 small rice paper wrappers
- Soy sauce or other dipping sauce, to serve
- Prepare the vegetables: Peel and finely dice the shallot bulb (alternatively, use a rounded ¼ cup of diced onion). Chop the mushrooms in half, and then thinly slice them. Peel and grate the carrot (this will yield ~1 cup grated carrot).
- Make the filling: Preheat a medium-sized skillet over low heat. Grease with cooking oil spray (or peanut oil), and then add the diced shallot and pinch of salt. Cook the shallot for 2 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the mushrooms, and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms have just started to release their juices.
- Pour in the soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce and chili flakes. Turn the heat up a little more, and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have significantly reduced in size.
- In a small dish, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the skillet, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the sauces in the skillet have thickened.
- Add the grated carrot and spinach, and then turn down the heat to low. Gently stir until the spinach has wilted.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, and then stir in the sesame oil.
- Make the rice paper rolls: For this you will need a bowl of hot (or warm) water and two sheets of non-stick paper.
- Submerge one rice paper wrapper in the bowl of hot water for 10 - 20 seconds, or until just soft enough to use.
- Transfer the wrapper to the first sheet of non-stick paper (or a damp cutting board). Add a few spoonfuls of the mushroom filling - not quite in the center, a little south of the equator. Fold the bottom of the wrapper upwards to encase the filling. Fold in the left and right sides, and then roll upwards to seal.
- Repeat Steps 9 - 10 until the filling is all used up (I ended up with 10 rolls).
- If desired, warm the rolls up in the microwave or steam in a bamboo steamer (it's probably a good idea to line the steamer with non-stick paper). Serve with soy sauce, or dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!
The rice paper wrappers I used were 6-¼ inch (16 cm)
For a more traditional filling, use a range of Chinese mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, enoki, etc.)