Busy Bites: My green bean spring rolls.
Summer is almost at its end. It has been raining all morning and no end is in sight. But despite grey skies and muddy puddles, there is an abundance of the freshest vegetables. One of my favourites bites, this time of the year, is a spring roll with seasonal greens. The light and healthy snack couldn’t come any more delicious, than with green beans, earthy coriander and snappy spring onions. Dipped in a heavenly sesame sauce, my green bean spring rolls are definitely worth a shot.
The new academic year has started way to soon. But with nights spent in dimly lit libraries, hours of crouching over vaguely interesting books on how to set up Windows 95 to measure response times more accurately and the chronic tensing of neck-muscles also comes a year of opportunities. I’m looking forward a year of quick snacks, healthy and light.
And there is, most likely, no snack as quick, healthy and light as a nice spring roll. Soft and tender greens, wrapped in a thin sheet of soft rice paper, dipped into an aromatic sauce. Lunch break snacks really don’t come any more delicious. Especially if they are made with one of my favourite vegetable, the green bean. It’s subtle flavour and its tenderness are the perfect fit for a tahini based sauce. Combined with the earthiness of coriander and the subtle sharpness of fresh spring onions my green bean spring roll is the perfect snack on a busy day.
My green bean spring rolls.
Snake beans/green beans Rice wine vinegar Toasted sesame Oil Salt Chilli flakes Garlic Coriander Spring onion Tahini paste Lemon juice Pepper
I used chinese long beans, also known as snake beans, for this recipe, but you could just as well use the good old green bean. Though variable, I suppose that about 300 g of beans would make for an adequate lunch snack. On that I usually have 2 spring onions and a hand full of coriander. But there is no hard set rules on this. Just try to make this your own.
Wash the beans and steam them for about 8 minutes or until tender with a bit of a bite remaining. Steaming can be easily done by placing a colander over a pot with boiling water. Place a lid on top to speed up the process. Alternatively you could also just cook them in a large pot with boiling water.
If you are using snake beans, cut them into smaller chunks, that easily fit a sheet of rice paper. If you place the beans in the middle of the paper, 2 to 3 cm on both sides should remain uncovered.
In a large bowl mix a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar with a few drops of toasted sesame oil. Mince in a bit of very fresh garlic. Add salt and chilli flakes to the taste. The dressing for the beans should be a bit too strong, as they will ooze out additional liquid, which will dampen the intensity.
Let the beans cool down a bit. Mix the now warm beans with the dressing and leave to marinate for about 10 minutes. Using a colander, drain the beans.
Slice a few spring onions finely in stripes matching the length of the beans. Chop some fresh coriander.
On a clean surface place a sheet of rice paper and cover it with a clean, wet tea towel. This takes a bit more time than would soaking them in a bowl of water (which you could also do), but will produce a less watery or rubbery result. The paper has soaked enough once it has become translucent and can be easily formed.
Place a few bean-chunks, spring onion stripes and chopped coriander on the “edge” of the rice paper closest to you (this description will be slightly awkward, as we are dealing with round sheets of paper). Make sure that your filling is at the center of your sheet. Fold the uncovered sides over the filling and then, slowly, start to roll up the sheet like you would a carpet. Make sure to press together the filling as tightly as you can, to produce a compact roll.
For the dipping sauce, add a few tablespoons of tahini paste to a bowl. Slowly add lemon juice to the paste and stir. The paste will start to thicken. Slowly add a few teaspoons of water and stir, this will result in a thinning of the sauce. Alternate between water and lemon juice until you have doubled the amount of original paste. If the sauce should be too runny, add a few drops of lemon juice and stir. Add salt and pepper to the taste. And dip your green bean roles in it.