Several years ago, when I worked at a previous institution, the students working in our office over the summer lamented their ability to cook. As three professional staff members who really enjoyed cooking, we wanted to pass this interest along to the students (and make sure they were eating something beyond cereal and taco Tuesdays at the local bar). Some students were gourmands themselves, sharing how they whipped up garlic and mushrooms in the middle of the night for a bedtime snack, while others had no talents. The basic premise was this: we would pair up two-by-two and the pair would have to decide what they were going to make. Sometimes there would be a theme or an assignment of the course, while other times it was a free-for-all. A shopping list would be procured and two of us would go tot he grocery store and acquire the necessary ingredients. Finally, we would go to the boss lady’s house and spend the time doing team building, cooking, and skill-development.
On the very first of these visits, I was working with a student who didn’t have much cooking experience but was filled with ambition. She wanted for us to make spring rolls together. This was a slightly disastrous, but not horribly awful experience. Since then, I have been hesitant to try spring rolls or something of the like again. But, with an abundance of kohlrabi, I went looking for recipes and was delighted to find this recipe for Kohlrabi Spring Rolls from the Love and Lemons Cookbook. They tasted great. The peanut sauce could use some work — I haven’t found a homemade or store bought peanut sauce I love yet. But, I’ll keep looking. My rolling skills could continue to be developed, but flavor-wise, the recipe is a keeper.
Kohlrabi Spring Rolls
Peanut Dipping Sauce
1/3 c creamy peanut butter
2 tsp tamari, plus more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to taste
2-3 Tbsp water
1 tsp sriracha, plus more to taste
1/4 c crushed peanuts, toasted
4 oz vermicelli rice noodles
1 kohlrabi bulb, sliced into matchsticks
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1/2 c loosely packed basil
1/2 c loosely packed mint
8 rice papers
1/4 c microgreens (optional)
Make the peanut dipping sauce: In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, water, and sriracha and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the vermicelli rice noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
Toss the sliced kohlrabi with the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Have all filling ingredients prepped and in front of you before you start rolling — noodles, kohlrabi, mango, avocado, basil, mint, and microgreens, if you are using.
Assemble the spring rolls: Fill a shallow baking dish or pie plate with 1 inch of warm water. Submerge one rice paper wrapper in the warm water for 15 seconds and then lay the softened wrapper on a clean kitchen towel. Place a portion of each filling ingredient on the rice paper. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling and gently tuck the filling under the wrapper. Fold the sides over the filling. Then continue rolling and tucking the rice paper to form the spring roll Repeat with the remaining rice papers.
Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.