The recipe for these Asian vegetable cigars was accidental. I was saving the mixture from a failed attempt at making vegan and gluten-free dumplings. Looking back, I think I got a little too ambitious with trying to make them gluten-free. I will attempt it again though using a different flour.
So I was standing there in the kitchen with a dough that was cracking like crazy and wouldn’t work and had all this mixture that now had no home. So I thought to myself, what can I create with this mixture now?
I went back to my childhood of eating filo pastry with spinach and ricotta—which we call burek. You can make it with so many different fillings, but my family was vegetarian, so that was the most popular combination in our household.
I decided to go and buy some filo pastry and create these gorgeous Asian inspired cigars and add some other herbs and spices like coriander and turmeric. I also thought that the addition of tamari and toasted sesame seeds as a dipping sauce would add another layer of flavour.
So by mistake, this recipe was born. I was delighted with the way that they turned out, and they are so easy and quick to make! Especially when you can put all the vegetables through a food processor. Here is a photo version of how I was rolling them. It’s super easy, and little skill is required.
- 1 small onion, grated
- 6 medium sized mushrooms, grated
- 1.5 cups carrot, grated
- 1 cup cabbage, grated
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ⅓ cup coriander, chopped
- ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 6 sheets of filo pastry, cut in half to create 12 sheets
- ¼ cup Tamari sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and grease a flat baking tray.
- Combine all the grated vegetables, turmeric, coriander ½ cup of the olive oil and season to taste. Mix well.
- Only bring out the filo pastry when you are ready to start rolling them as otherwise the pastry will dry up and start cracking on the corners.
- Use 2 sheets at a time, placing ½ cup of the filling in the middle lengthways. (see images above)
- Place the two short edges over the filling then roll making sure you pull the pastry tight over the filling - not too tight as you will tear the pastry. Work with it delicately.
- Place the cigar with the edge facing down on the baking tray and grease it with the oil.
- Repeat this process until all the filling is gone. You should get about 6 cigars.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is brown and crispy.
- Take out of the oven and spray a little water on them to bring down the puffiness and place a tea towel over them for around 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with tamari and toasted sesame seed sauce.
These are a great entree or as a snack when you need to grab something on the run. Keep the cigars in the fridge. They will last around 3-4 days.
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