My younger sister and two of my nieces love spring rolls. I have never really liked the taste of ready made vegetarian spring rolls, always preferring the home made ones. I tend to make them in a large batch and freeze them so as they are ready to have when ever I want to make a complete Chinese meal. There are many different versions I have made. Out of them it is the Thai and Chinese versions that I truly enjoy.
Some of the dishes we learnt at a very early age, used to be at the ladies club. We used to meet up on a regular basis and food, flower arranging, house hold tips etc. used to be demonstrated. This is where we learnt how to assemble spring rolls, I remember when my mother and sisters used to do it all together, like a production line. Now when I make them on my own I have fond memories of how we used to listen to music and were gently coaxed into making sure we have enough paste and roll it tightly. After a few broken ones, we got there in the end 🙂 Of course it is much easier now that we buy the ready made frozen pastries, as opposed to rolling them out ourselves, which is where we started – Oh the joys and convenience of ready made items to make cooking life easy 😉
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When we first used to make stir fry or Chinese sweet & sour stir fry in Malawi, we would use specific vegetables (cabbage, french beans, carrots etc.) and make the sauce at home. We would have it either with plain rice or fried rice. Then when we came here we saw the supermarkets with pre made sauces like hoi sin, teriyaki, black bean etc. As always we had to be cautious as these tended to contain some form of fish oil or sauce. The other thing with all the ready made sauces is that they have added preservatives to give them the long shelf life. So after trying a few brands which where vegetarian, we created our own version by using shop bought sauces and our own home made mix. However I do try and make the sauces at home to taste, this way I know what I am putting into it and each time the taste is different. The list of ingredients started to change also. After marriage I started adding tofu, mushrooms, and savoy cabbage to my stir fries. By making my own sauce at home I sometimes get the correct balance of vegetables and sauces and sometimes I get it wrong, however that is all part of the fun of cooking.
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