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Fresh Thai Spring Rolls

For the Bean Threads:
2 “nests” of bean thread noodles

• Boil water in a medium pan and add the noodles. Turn off the burner, cover the pan, and set aside for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are just tender.
• Rinse the noodles in a strainer under cold water and set aside to fully drain while you prepare the tofu.

For the Tofu Sticks:
1/2 lb. extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. tamari or shoyu sauce
1 tsp. garlic granules

• Cut the tofu into 4 slabs and press gently with paper towels to remove excess water. Cut each slab into 4 pieces, creating 16 tofu “sticks.”
• Pan-fry the tofu in the oil, tamari, and garlic until nicely browned on both sides. Set aside.

To Assemble:
16 spring roll skins (rice paper)
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
6 scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cup red cabbage, finely chopped or grated
3/4 cup fresh basil, minced
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
3/4 cup fresh mint, minced
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds (optional)

• Fill a large pan or bowl with 1 to 2 inches of lukewarm or cool water. Submerge 4 sheets of the rice paper in the water, one at a time to prevent sticking.* In a minute or so, they should be soft. (Be careful not to over soak them, or they will weaken.)
• Lay the papers flat on a clean surface and place some of the bean threads, tofu sticks, carrots, scallions, cabbage, basil, cilantro, and mint in the middle of each one, being careful not to overfill them.
• Roll up from the bottom until the fillings are covered, fold in the sides, and continue rolling up. Set aside. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
• Top each spring roll with toasted sesame seeds. (You may need to sprinkle each roll with a little water in order to make the seeds adhere.)

*Note: You may wish to work with one at a time until you get the hang of the process.

Makes about 16 spring rolls