Asian dishes incorporate such wonderful flavors: curry, Thai basil, sesame, chili, mirin, and so much more. I've been trying to make more Asian foods, to break out of my pad thai or coconut curry pattern and make something new. But quite frankly, patterns aren't entirely bad if you can try to bring something new into those recipes. I've been making potstickers for a few years now, making a large batch and freezing them. While peeking through a cookbook recently, I found a recipe for spring rolls that added black tea, both to bring an interesting twist to a traditional favorite and to incorporate the antioxidant properties of black tea. I blended this recipe with my usual potsticker recipe and came up with the recipe below. These spring rolls are baked, so you get the crispiness without the oiliness or fat of spring rolls you'd get at a Chinese restaurant (and there are so many other reasons why these are better than restaurant spring rolls). Enjoy dipped in a bottled sweet chili sauce or any other Asian dipping sauce you like; there are many recipes online to choose from.
If you want to freeze them, freeze individually on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, than place in a bag or container. When ready to use, simply thaw and follow the normal baking instructions.
Black Tea-Spiked Spring Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of a large onion, sliced thin
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, washed and chopped (stems included)
1/2 of a large savoy cabbage, sliced into ribbons and any core pieces removed
1 large carrot, shredded
3 tbsp tamari (soy) sauce
1 tbsp black tea, ground (a mortar and pestle works well for this)
Salt & pepper to taste
Drizzle of chili oil (optional)
1 package wonton wrappers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms, cabbage, and carrot and saute until cabbage wilts and softens, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in tamari and black tea and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add chili oil if you like. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Take out a wonton wrapper and place it on a clean counter with one corner facing you. Place a spoonful of the mixture about 2 inches from the corner. Fold the wrapper over the mixture, then fold in the two side corners and finish rolling (like rolling a burrito), using a small dab of water on the top corner to seal it. Repeat with all wrappers until the mixture is gone.
Brush with a small bit of melted butter and bake on a baking sheet lined with a non-stick baking mat (foil works fine too) for 10-15 minutes, until golden and crispy.