Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

“Waste not, want not.” — Jialing Mew

Auguest 2021: Jialing Mew

Let me just preface this year’s recipe by saying that my goal was not to recreate an authentic or traditional Vietnamese dish. Despite having grown up in South East Asia, Vietnamese cuisine was not really something I’d experienced much of until I moved to Sydney (slightly ironic, yes, but Australia is truly a melting pot of cuisines and cultures!). And so, not wanting to butcher any of the already perfect Vietnamese favourites I’ve come to love in my twenties, I decided to instead draw inspiration from some Vietnamese-Australian fusion I’d eaten in Melbourne during one of the brief intermissions between lockdowns.

As with every other Auguest, it was definitely a… journey… for me to get to this recipe. The original game plan was to take advantage of popular local seafood, such as barramundi. But fate had other plans. Due to a highly traumatising incident while pet-sitting for tropical fish (who I now see as the vicious, carnivorous killers they truly are!), my stomach forced me to swear off all forms of fish flesh for the foreseeable future.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

Also, having been under pretty strict lockdown for almost as long as I can remember, I’ve had fairly limited access to specialty Asian ingredients. Many servings of banh mi and bowls of bun cha later (you know, for research, and supporting local businesses), I came up with another idea – sausage rolls! Such an iconic Australian food, yet every bakery and home cook has their own special recipe. I dreamt up a great chicken sausage roll recipe packed with aromatics and fresh ingredients reminiscent of my experience with Vietnamese-Australian cuisine.

The recipe was right up my alley, and came together with hardly a hiccup. But then last week my brain decided to remind me that Allison’s blog is now actually kind of pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan – which chicken is not.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

And so I resorted to the last-minute brain scramble I thought I’d gotten past, frantically modifying the recipe I’d perfected at the beginning of the month. So much for preparedness, but it kind of worked out in the end, and to be honest I’m not mad at the vegetarian version (#sorrynotsorry to all the vegans, though).

My recipe is still chicken-based, but I’ve also included some modifications to make a pretty tasty tofu filling, so feel free to choose your own adventure with this recipe!

Unless it’s vegan.

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 15 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 500g firm tofu (or 500g chicken mince)
  • 1 cup (65g) fried scallions
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, ends and outer leaves discarded, pale inner bulb finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, about 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • 2 red bird’s eye chills, minced
  • 2-3 eggs (1 egg if using chicken)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
    3 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)

For the dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sriracha

METHOD

  1. Press a 500g block of firm tofu between several layers of paper towels with a flat heavy object on top to remove excess water. Let it sit for about an hour, then use your hands, a large grater, or knife and cutting board to turn the tofu into small crumbled pieces.
  2. Separate 3 sheets of prepared puff pastry, and set aside to thaw. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan forced, 350F, or gas mark 4).
  3. In a blender, pulse the fried scallions until finely crushed – this will be a super flavourful replacement for the breadcrumbs traditionally used in sausage rolls for keeping the filling from shrinking.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tofu with the fried scallion crumbs and remaining filling ingredients. Mix well. Add up to 3 eggs until mixture binds and holds.
  5. Working with one sheet at a time, use a sharp knife to carefully cut puff pastry into thirds from top to bottom, then left to right, creating 9 even squares. Each of these squares you’ve cut will be used to individually wrap the tofu rolls.
  6. Take approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape into a log, placing diagonally across each small square of pastry. Brush the entire surface of the mixture and pastry with the beaten egg. To seal the roll, take the exposed top corner and fold across the top of the mince mixture. Take the opposite bottom corner and gently fold and press on top of the first pastry corner. Repeat with remaining filling and puff pastry sheets and arrange folded pastry rolls onto lined baking sheets.
  7. Brush the tops of the pastry with the remaining egg and place into the oven, baking one sheet at a time for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the pastry are golden brown.
  8. Combine the ketchup with sriracha and mix well to create dipping sauce, and serve with the pastry rolls. Enjoy!

Vietnamese-inspired Tofu Rolls

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Jialing Mew (@jialingmew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Jialing Mew

myTaste.com

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa “Meatballs”

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I would like to check in with everyone and see if you all were able to guess the theme for this month. I’m pretty sure that by this post, you’ll have an idea of a recurring theme, but nevertheless, I will share it with you guys right here, right now! Drumroll please!

BALL BALLS! Yes, you read that right, ball balls, and here is a little back story to the name – so there was one day, back when I was still living in Australia for my university studies, my then roommate and I were talking about Christmas I guess, well I actually don’t remember the root of our conversation but it was more like I misunderstood, or I didn’t quite hear the pronunciation of the word “baubles” when my roommate had said it. At that time, I assumed that she said “ball balls” and that, that was what those round Christmas ornaments were called. Fast forward to another time, I was correct by someone (sorry I can’t remember who) that it was actually baubles and not ball balls. I was so disappointed at the time because I thought ball balls was such an epic name to call these Christmas ornament. Just recently, and when I say recently I mean like about a year ago or so, Jialing shared with me a folder name in their office server and it was titled BALL BALLS, to which I replied to her “SEE I TOLD YOU THEY ARE CALLED BALL BALLS!” I was just overly excited at the fact that I wasn’t the only dumb one to call them ball balls.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Jialing has been quite helpful this year in a way that she has helped me with some blog themes for this year. At first, she asked me what the theme of my blog would be for the month of December, and we both came up with the idea of doing ball-shaped food as we recalled our “ball balls” story. So, as I do not have a backstory for this particular recipe since I just came across it while browsing through Pinterest, I will just get right in to the recipe. Before you do, check out the original recipe by Erin over on The Almond Eater.

“Add a spicy kick to meatless meatballs with these vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs. With simple ingredients, like cauliflower, quinoa, garlic, and breadcrumbs, they’re sure to be a hit for the whole family!” — Erin, The Almond Eater.

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs" Ingredients

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 24 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower quinoa ‘meatballs’

  • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp flour (whole wheat, all purpose or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

For the buffalo sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

For the blue cheese-yoghurt dip

  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Ground salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cook the quinoa in a small sauce pot according to the packet instructions (about 12-15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking away, steam or boil the cauliflower in a separate medium-sized pot at the same time until they are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the buffalo sauce by melting the unsalted butter in a heat-proof bowl, in the microwave (or over a stove as well). Once melted, stir in the hot sauce, minced garlic, and chilli powder. Set aside.
  4. Combine the yoghurt, blue cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, milk, and lemon juice in a medium-szied bowl and whisk together until combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Once the quinoa is done cooking, turn the heat off and set aside. Once the cauliflower is done cooking as well, drain (if boiled) and place half the cauliflower, along with the minced garlic, into the food processor or blender and pulse for about 10-15 seconds. Remove and transfer the cauliflower into a large bowl before adding the second half of cauliflower to the food processor/blender and repeat the process.
  6. Stir in the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, dried oregano, and half of the buffalo sauce together with the cauliflower and then place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, allowing everything to cool off a bit.
  7. After 15 minutes, remove from the refrigerator and, using your hands, form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls (or smaller, depending on your preferred size), placing the balls directly onto the prepared baking tray. If the mixture is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
  8. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the balls and bake for 15-20 minutes and golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  9. Once done, remove from the oven, Pour a small amount of the rest of the buffalo sauce over the top of each ball, making sure they all get covered with the sauce but without drowning them otherwise they will get soggy.
  10. Serve with the blue cheese-yoghurt dip and share with family and friends!

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

Buffalo Cauliflower & Quinoa "Meatballs"

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com