Sunday, April 1, 2012

Japanese Knotweed Recipe - Knotweed Summer Rolls

Since Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) is so common and highly invasive here in southern New England, it is easy to find in quantity in the early spring. It is best picked as a tart, toothsome shoot before it gets much bigger than 8" tall. As it grows, it get tough and stringy and more difficult to incorporate into a recipe. We have made quite a few sweet recipes with knotweed, like dessert bars, jelly and tapioca. Here is a savory idea made with raw, sliced knotweed shoots to eat as part of an early spring, edible weed dinner.

We added some other spring edibles as well, all of which are optional or have similar common substitutes. Any Thai style sweet-sour-spicy dipping sauce is great on the side, and most of the more exotic ingredients are available at an Asian grocery store. To dip and soften the rice paper wrappers, I use a large pie plate filled with warm water. It is a good idea to have extra wrappers, since they may rip. Depending on how full you make the wrappers, there will be 6-8 rolls.

Japanese Knotweed Summer Rolls                                       makes 6-8 rolls

6-10 8" Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
3 oz. bean thread noodle cakes
1 c. thinly sliced Japanese knotweed shoot stems
1/2 c. chickweed greens, or parsley and cilantro leaves
3 Tbsp dandelion flower petals
2 Tbsp chopped ramps leaves, or chopped scallions
4 Tbsp shredded carrots
Thai dipping sauce

1. Soak the bean thread noodles in hot water for 10 minutes, until they soften. Rinse and drain well.
2. In a bowl, add the chopped knotweed, chickweed greens, dandelion petals, ramps, and carrots to the bean thread noodles. Toss well.
3. Soften the rice paper wrappers in warm water for about 15 seconds until they are pliable. Place on a smooth surface.
4. Take about 1/2 cup of the noodle filling and place it in the center of the top third of the wrapper. Fold over the top of the wrapper to cover the filling, then fold in the two sided toward the center. Now roll the filled wrapper towards the bottom, enclosing the filling completely. This may take some practice!
5. Chill the summer rolls for 15 minutes, and serve with a spicy-sweet Thai dipping sauce.

1 comment:

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