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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vegan Asian Inspired Rolls with Lemongrass Ginger Broth

I am still working on some vegan meals and this one was inspired by a dish I had on the weekend at one of our new favourite restaurants, EVOO, on Notre Dame Street in Montreal.  The menu choices were original and outstanding in flavour and presentation.  Three young friends (Peter, Sophie and Claudie) have come together to start up this restuarant and the attention to detail that has gone into the menu as well as the service and ambiance is incredible.  I had the rabbit stuffed cabbage rolls that were served in a lemongrass broth and it was delicious.

These rolls are just steamed vegetarian asian dumplings presented differently .  They could also be served in a thai green curry coconut broth or a peanut based sauce and would work also very well for  vegans.  This version  is very light and works well as a starter.  I made my own dumpling dough (hot water and flour) to make sure that it would be vegan, but you can certainly use store bought dumpling sheets (usually in the frozen food section).  I gave the test batch to Sarah (our vegan) for dinner and she loved them.

You will need:  for 8, 3 inch (7.5cm) rolls


  • 1 medium shallot (30g), thinly sliced
  • 3 button mushrooms (40g), thinly sliced and julienned
  • 1/2 red pepper (40g), julienned
  • 1 large carrot (about 1/3 cup - 40g), julienned
  • 1 large piece of a fennel bulb ( about 1/3 cup -40g), julienned
  • chinese cabbage (about 1/3 cup - 40g), julienned
  • green part of a green onion (about 1/8 cup - 10g), julienned
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsps (22ml) of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of grated fresh ginger*
  • 1 tsp of corn starch
* the best way to grate ginger is to keep it frozen - then simply use a cheese grater - this works very well.


  1. In a medium skillet on medium heat, add sesame oil (1tbsp - 15ml) and thinly sliced shallot (1 medium - 40g), cook for one minute to soften;
  2. Add julienned carrot (1/3 cup - 40g) and fennel (1/3 cup - 40g) and cook for one minute;
  3. Add julienned red pepper (1/2 - 40g), thinly sliced, julienned mushrooms (3 button - 40g) and julienned chinese cabbage (1/3 cup - 40g);
  4. Whisk together sauce ingredients: soy sauce (1.5 tbsps - 22ml), sugar (1.5 tsp), sherry vinegar (1/2 tsp), grated fresh ginger (1/2 tsp) and corn starch (1tsp);
  5. Add to vegetables and cook until sauce has thickened.  Allow to cool.
For the dumpling dough:
  • 1 cup (150g) of white flour
  • 1/2 (120ml) of boiling water (let it sit for one minute after it finishes boiling)
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp of water to use a glue to seal the roll

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the boiled water (1/2 cup - 120ml) and flour (1 cup - 150g) with a fork until blended;
  2. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead for about 1 minute.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes covered;
  3. Form the dough into a log shape about 2.5 inches (6cm) in diameter and slice into 8 even pieces;
  4. Roll out each disk thinly and cut into an even square about 3 inches X 3 inches (7.5cm X 7.5 cm);
  5. Place vegetable mixture in the centre of square and brush seam side with cornstarch/water mix.  Roll and seal.  Keep covered until ready to steam;
  6. To steam, put about 1 inch of water in a large pot and place a steaming tray over it.  Oil generously to prevent sticking and lay vegetables rolls on top (avoid touching so they do not stick together).  You can do this in batches;
  7. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat and cover pot.  Steam rolls for 5 minutes.  Reserve.
  8. You can reheat gently over steam when ready to serve.
This is a great tool for steaming

Lemongrass Ginger Broth (makes about 4 cups) 

  • 1 small onion (60g) cut in 6 pieces
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 stalk of celery with leaves, washed, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 piece of fennel (100g), washed, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots (100g), cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 branch of lemongrass, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 3 sliced button mushrooms (65g)
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, washed and sliced
  • 2 inch piece of leek (white part), cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 stems of fresh parsely, washed 
  • 10 whole pepper corns
  • 7 cups ( ml) of cold water

  1. Place all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a low simmer.
  2. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes;
  3. Strain and press to extract as much flavour as possible  and return to medium heat;
  4. Add another stalk of lemongrass and small sliced piece of ginger to infuse more flavour and allow to reduce for 15 minutes (you should have about 4 cups left);
  5. Generously season with salt to taste;

Note:  Added steamed baby bok choy and fresh (raw) opened sweet pea pod as garnish.
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