Vegan Spring Rolls

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Vegan Spring Rolls with pumpkin, carrot, shallots and sesame oil dressing

Provided by Mr Barakat Naim from the Earth Cafe in Marrakech, Morocco

http://www.earthcafemarrakech.com/

 

The Earth Cafe is Marrakech’s only pure vegetarian and vegan cafe. Everything served there is healthy, nutritious, inventive and tasty and there are lashings of joyful, intelligent flavour combinations. When we visited we tried a number of dishes, all of which were good, but two in particular stood out of us. This was one of them so we're really happy that Mr Barakat Naim, the owner and master chef at The Earth Cafe, has allowed us to share it with you! If you'd like to know more about Mr Barakat, there's a short interview with him after the recipe.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 200 g pumpkin
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 large carrot, grated, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, diced

 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 12 spring roll wrappers

 

Process:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and shallots, saute for 2 minutes. Add in ginger, carrots and mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkins sliced and salt and saute an additional 3 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil, and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat the veggies well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Place one spring roll wrapper on a flat surface in front of you, with a corner facing you, so it makes a diamond shape.
  6. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in a line in middle of the wrapper.
  7. Fold the corners toward the center on top of the filling and the bottom corner over the top of the filing. Brush a little water on the top corner and roll it up like a burrito.
  8. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the skillet or wok over medium heat
  9. Place a few spring rolls in the pan, making sure you have room to roll them. Cook them on each side for 2-5 minutes, until they are golden brown on each side. Each spring roll will take about 7-10 minutes to fully cook.
  10. To bake the spring rolls, preheat oven to 425 degrees, place egg rolls on a rack over a foiled lined baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and crispy.

 

 

We asked Mr Barakat Naim a few questions with the aim of getting to understand more about food in Morocco, and his own views on certain subjects that are important to us all nowadays. Here is what transpired.

 

What was your favourite food when you were growing up?

During my chidhood I used to eat homemade plates and ingredients were diversified, as in Morocco we have many delicious recipies. Of course, seasonal products were also a part of our daily meals when available with a specific kind of cooking for each and dressing also. In Morocco, we have a rich cuisine, varied and including many kinds of cooking techniques inspired from our berber/andalousian/jewish cultural background.

 

What was your town or village like? We'd like to know as much about the world surrounding your favorite food as possible. If you can, please give us the recipe for this food.

I grow up in Rabat, which is the capital of Morocco. It's a big modern city where you can find a nice and diversified offer of food ranging from restaurant proposing traditional meals to more modern fast foods.

 

What inspired you to become the chef that you have become?

My childhood environment, with it's rich multi-cultural cuisine mixing berber/andalousian/jewish and even european influences. Also my long living in Australia and USA where I discovered other types of cuisine. All this made me work hard to explore and innovate in cooking techniques and variations in order to create a gourmet fusion-cuisine. Vegfooding was and is still a huge source of inspiration for me, because I believe in the urgent need for a better and healthier quality of eating/living styles.

 

What advice do you have for people who want to eat healthier. Should they eat organic? Or is eating locally produced food better?

I would say eat locally & organic and promote fair trading. The focus must be in producing healthy products and giving people access to varied kind of. Whatever was the person's eating needs and choices, he/she has the right to consume nutricious and healthy products.

 

Should they be vegan, vegetarian, raw, or in your opinion should they eat a little meat, or whatever else they like?

What to eat is a strictly personnal matter and choice. What I could advice is to eat diversified in the sense that whatever was the food orientation of the person, he/she needs not to concentrate only on a single product and always keeps in mind that each ingredient/product/spices/herb/etc has it's exclusive nutritive benefits and ability to participate in building a good health.

 

And finally, if you had to limit your diet to include only 25 individual types of food, what would you choose (kale, apples, spirulina, spinach, chia, sweet potato, goji, etc) for maximum active and general lifestyle benefit?

Not to be in contradiction with I've said previously, nutrition needs to be diversified and issued from organic/environmently respectful origins. The idea, for me, is not to look for limited types of food but for the healthiest one, the nicely cooked one.

 

If you'd like to know more about The Earth Cafe in Marrakech please visit http://www.earthcafemarrakech.com/

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