Let’s start with a confession: I actually only started playing around with rice paper few months ago.
The first time I tried using it, I failed miserably. I left the rice paper in the water for too long and it became way too soggy. By that time any light tension would just make it disintegrate.
But hey, I got it after the first try. Woohoo!
Which means, if you haven’t tried working with rice paper, you totally should. The learning curve isn’t that steep if I can get it after one try 😉
And where better place to start than this recipe! :p
This awesome (and easy as hell) rice roll recipe here is really quite awesome – because it tastes super yummy with few ingredients.
No lies here, look at the photos. There’s just two main ingredients in the filling – tempeh and cauliflower. That’s it. Yet it is still so satisfying!
Personally, I like to cook with as few ingredients as possible because I pretty much cook only for myself and my future self (aka tomorrow’s lunch or something). Some recipes call for like 5-6 ingredients in the fillings and while I get that it’d be totally delicious, that’s gonna be 5-6 vegetables or stuff sitting in the fridge.
And I’d probably never use that up in time, you know? It’s just not that practical.
Hence I try my best to attain the sweet spot – where taste and effort is optimised.
I’d include a sketch of a graph to show you what I mean but I suppose no one is interested so let’s move along and pretend I didn’t show you my nerdy true colours.
Of course, knowing me, you’d also know that this cauliflower and tempeh rice roll recipe can’t be that hard. There is only so much effort I’m willing to put into cooking, after all.
The only potentially tricky part is probably wrapping the rice roll – you have to be gentle, and most importantly, not overfill. I really wanted you guys to understand what I’m talking about when I explain the steps in the recipe so I included a step-by-step-ish picture above, hopefully that helps you guys understand my instructions better.
Actually, on hindsight, the filling looks a wee bit overfilled to me in the above picture. LOL. To be fair, it did turn out fine in the end, but if I were to make this now I would put one or two less cauliflower florets. Whoops.
Once you’ve wrapped everything up nicely, you can serve it as it is. I think rice rolls were meant to be served just like that, but can we make these rice rolls better? (Hint: yes.)
What can we do to make it better?
Come on, you have to admit that fried rice rolls sounds like a good idea right? Well, there’s no need to guess. I tried pan-frying it and it was delicious.
I definitely prefer the fried version, heh. That’s why I’m enticing you all to fry it with these pictures 😉
If you’re more hardcore than me, you can attempt to deep-fry it. I imagine it’d be amazing because you’d be able to get a crispy crust everywhere. Disclaimer: I didn’t try it though, because deep-frying is too much of a hassle for me. So proceed with caution there! But if you to try it, let me know how it goes, I’m curious. Hehe.
These rice rolls are really super satisfying. Tempeh is really the star of the dish here. It’s the reason why we can get away with having only two ingredients in the filling – it’s because tempeh has such a strong flavour. I love it.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t bake it, it’s because I’ve never found a way to make baked tempeh taste good on it’s own (without marinade/sauce). Since we’re going in the naughty fried rice roll direction, we might as well go all the way, right? 😉
And that lovely dipping sauce? Literally just soy sauce and lime juice. Goes super well with the rice roll though, you shouldn’t omit it. It makes the rice roll extra delicious!
While I can’t say it’s low fat, I can say it’s pretty low carb – of course there are carbs in the rice paper itself, but it’s not that bad at all. Needless to say, it’s gluten-free. AND free of onions and garlic. Awesome! (Almost) everyone can eat this! (Sorry, people with soy allergies :/)
Vegan + Gluten Free + Low Carb + No Onion No Garlic
Easy Cauliflower And Tempeh Rice Roll (Pan-Fried)
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 sheets rice paper
- 1/2 head cauliflower
- 4 pieces tempeh rectangular sized
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 paper towel optional
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 lime
Heat oven to 200 deg C/400 deg F.
Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Mix it with one tablespoon of vegetable oil and one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and lay it on a baking tray. Season with some salt and pepper.
Roast it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Next, we'll shallow fry the tempeh (I usually do it in two batches). Heat up about 1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, cut each tempeh into 4 smaller rectangles (or even smaller pieces if you prefer).
When the oil is hot enough, fry the first batch of tempeh (half of what you have) until they turn golden brown. You'll need to flip it once when one side is done (or more, if necessary).
Place the cooked tempeh on a kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.
Now, heat up 1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry the second batch of tempeh.
When the cauliflower is ready, we can then assemble the rice roll. Set aside a large plate and fill it with water.
Dip one rice paper into the water and make sure that every part of the rice paper comes in contact with the water. Don't leave it in for too long; remove it once you're sure the water has reached every bit.
Lay the rice paper on a smooth surface. Put 4 small pieces of tempeh (or the equivalent of one tempeh before cutting it) and some cauliflower florets in the centre of the rice paper, but slightly downwards.
Fold in the sides and then fold in the bottom flap, upwards. Use your fingers to push in the filling as you lift the roll from the bottom and roll it up. Roll it upwards all the way until you've reached the end.
You can serve it as it is but I prefer to pan fry it. Heat up one tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Fry the rice rolls in the pan, flipping it when needed.
Note that not all of the rice roll will crisp up. Part of it will brown (the parts in direct contact with the pan) and part of it will remain chewy. If you want it to be completely crispy, you can consider deep frying it.
For the dipping sauce, mix one tablespoon of soy sauce and the juice of half a lime. Done!
To check if the oil is hot enough, you can stick a chopstick in the pan and if you see bubbles forming around it, that's good enough. Otherwise, you can also dip a piece of tempeh in to see if it sizzles.
You may want to use less oil when cooking the tempeh, or even bake it in the oven, if you don't mind it not crisping up.
If you're worried about the moistened rice paper sticking to the surface, you can oil the surface beforehand but I usually can lift the rice paper from the surface without issues.