It’s so exciting and fulfilling, as a blogger, to see that some of my ideas have inspired and excited others. I am so happy to have a (small but growing!) contingency of Platinum Chef followers who eagerly conjure up creative dishes with no fear of unfamiliar ingredients or combinations. I think we can all agree that we become more skilled in the kitchen with every new challenge! This round of the Challenge is hosted by the fabulous Danielle of Make No Little Meals. On top of being a creative cook, she’s also an extremely talented photographer, so I personally can’t wait to see her Platinum Chef meal documented! For this event, Danielle chose the ingredients bok choy, mint, mango, panko, and yogurt.
Bok Choy was the only one in this bunch completely new to me. Of course I’ve had it in Chinese dishes, but never worked with it myself. These ingredients, minus the yogurt, inspired me to go Asian with my entry, knowing I’d work in the yogurt somehow. I decided to make this even more of a challenge for myself by tacking summer rolls – something else new to me. The yogurt would come into play in the dipping sauce, along with mint, peanuts, lime juice, and seasonings. Inside the spring rolls, I decided on panko-crusted shrimp, bok choy sauteed with ginger, and a fresh slaw of mango, carrots, and cucumber.
Overall, I had a great time making this meal and I’m really happy I decided to make summer rolls – they were not nearly as finicky as I thought they might be, and I could see lots of yummy combinations for fillings. However, I’m not sure that this was the right one. I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the bok choy- most recipes called for cooking it, so I did. But, I wasn’t so much a fan of the texture of the sauteed bok choy in the spring roll; to me it felt a bit slimy. Can anyone tell me if I should have left it raw for a nice crunch? Also, I’m not sure the panko really did anything for the shrimp here, and I think I’d be happier just focusing on steamed shrimp, more fresh mango, and some crisp vegetables and fresh mint or basil leaves. The idea of mixing wet ingredients with the mango mixture seems kind of silly, now that I think of it, because all of those flavors can come in through the sauce and don’t do much for the texture inside the roll. As for the sauce – it was ok for me, I liked the creaminess that the yogurt added. Not so much sure about the mint – perhaps a combination of mint and cilantro or parsely would have been better. I added a touch of brown sugar, inspired by the sweet, green sauce that comes with the lettuce wraps and the avocado eggrolls at the Cheesecake Factory (does anyone know what that is? I’d love to have it at home!) Anyway… though it wasn’t my best meal, I still had a great time making it. Perhaps it could have been better if I didn’t try to squeeze all the ingredients in one meal; I guess I was overambitious. I really do look forward to making summer rolls again!
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
1 mango, pitted and peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1/2 cucumber, seeded
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice from half of a lime
1 tbsp sesame seeds
pinch of salt
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
3 small bunches baby bok choy, washed and roughly chopped
8 rice paper wrappers
Julienne the mangos, cucumbers, carrots, and scallion in the food processor, then toss with soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame seeds and salt.
Saute the ginger over medium heat in nonstick cooking spray for about 1 minute, then add the bok choy, with rinsing water still clinging to it. Steam/saute for about 4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Cool.
Working with 1 wrapper at a time, dip the wrapper in warm water for about 10 seconds, until pliable. (I found a rimmed baking dish to work best to hold the water). Place the wrapper on your work surface, and lay three shrimp halved horizontally near the bottom of the wrapper. Top with some of the mango mixture and the bok choy, then carefully roll up, burrito-style, tucking in the edges. If preparing these ahead of time, set the rolls on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and then plastic wrap. Chill.
1 cup mint leaves, tightly packed
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp brown sugar
pinch cayenne pepper & salt
Chop the mint, peanuts, and garlic together in the food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend.