Today I spent some time wandering around in the grocery store. I must have looked really weird, shuffling slowly and staring at all the shelves and products. It doesn’t sound so weird, but I shuffled up and down the Olive Oil/Tex Mex aisle about 10 times. Maybe you had to be there.
It’s just that… Spanish supermarkets are fascinating. For example, you wouldn’t find this in an American supermarket. Keep in mind that it was located right next to the health foods/special needs (sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, organic) section.
And I’m not sure if you would find this in America, but I wish I could:
Aside from the food itself, the packaging is quite different. Behold this creative offer:
Then there are strange intersections of America and Spain. For example, I swear this is Mandy Moore:
In the end, I got almost everything I came for. I was buying ingredients for my favorite comfort food: spring rolls!
Because I like it so much, I don’t understand how it’s not already your favorite food, too. Try it! Here’s how you make my vegetarian spring rolls:
- A couple cups of equal parts grated carrot and grated daikon radish. Sprinkle evenly with sugar (or vinegar, but I prefer sugar) and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Some kind of fancy/tasty lettuce mix or spinach.
- Cucumbers cut into 3″-long rectangle-cube-boxes. Why can’t I think of a reasonable word for this? The shape that comes to mind is “coffins.”
- Browned tofu cut into the same shape as the cucumbers.
- Cooked rice noodles. When deciding how much to make, err on the side of overcompensating. Remember to rinse it in cold water, drizzle a tiny amount of sesame oil on it, and sprinkle it with sesame seeds so it looks pretty. It reheats well in the microwave. You’ll either make too much or not enough. You’ll never make just the right amount. Sorry.
- Avocado. It is not the same without this. I halve the avocado, remove the pit, and then make nice even slices with a knife about 5/8ths of an inch thick, and then scoop it out with a spoon.
- Cilantro. Yummmmmmm.
- Mint. This is so necessary. It takes the spring rolls from “best meal of my life” to “best meal ever.”
- Rice paper wrappers.
- Generally, I put the tap on hot and rinse a rice paper wrapper for a couple seconds on either side, shake it off a little, and then let the water soak in while I build. This is not a fool-proof method, but it works for me. Feel free to follow the package instructions instead, or figure out your own way.
- Stuff your wrapper! Here are my favorite proportions:
– 1 tofu coffin
– 1 cucumber coffin
– 1 large avocado slice or equivalent
– 2 T carrot/daikon mix
– 1 layer of lettuce (3-5 pieces)
– 2-3 T of rice noodles
– 2 T of cilantro
– 1 T of mint
- Drizzle with Megan’s Ultra Special Secret Delicious Sauce Deluxe
- Wrap it up! It’s just like rolling an egg roll. Someday I’ll take pictures and show you. For now, here’s an outline:- Fold over the edge of the wrapper nearest you until it just covers the contents of your wrapper.
– Tuck in the sides so that they close off the ends. It’s nice to make sure that your tuck creates a slight taper in the final, unfolded side so that the ends of your roll stay pretty and tidy.
– Roll the bundle of contents away from you with gentle pressure, all the way to the end of the taper. When you move your roll to build another one, place your roll with the seal side down so that it can dry/set that way.
- Repeat 5 times. I think 5 is enough to fill you up, and sometimes it’s just a little too much, so if you’re having sides, make less.
After purchasing my food, I walked back into the Department Store. Oh, yeah! The grocery store is right by the book section at El Cortes Inglés. Because it was the last thing I saw before I walked home, I will share it with you, too. Don’t forget to click on the picture and read the fine print: