Just in time for Lunar New Year, we caught up with Parind Vora, executive chef and owner of Austin-based French and New American restaurant, Braise. Chef Parind, who was born in India and whose menu features big flavors and bold presentations, is inspired by the local food of his extensive domestic and international travels, including the Carribbean, Belize, and Austria. Influenced by his mastery of Indian spices through growing up in an Indian household, Chef Parind offers Vietnamese spring rolls at Braise with a modern twist of veal sweetbreads, pistachios, scallop mousse, and roasted red pepper coulis. Read on for a Q&A with the chef and his classic spring rolls recipe with pairing suggestions.
Audrey Magazine: If you could cook for anyone in the world (past or present), who would you choose and what would you cook for them?
Parind Vora: Brazilian fiction writer Jorge Amado. I would cook South Indian food, Dosa Sambar, and foie gras with truffled Madeira sauce a’ la Rossini to share the dichotomy of my world.
AM: What is your favorite wine pairing?
PV: Red meat and white wine.
AM: Is there a particular ingredient you enjoy cooking with most? Why?
PV: Eggs. Everything happens really fast so you must be precise. Also they’re nutritious, tasty, and my chickens lay them so it is a little bit of self-sufficiency.
AM: Are you working on any new dining concepts or projects?
PV: Yes, I am reopening Restaurant Jezebel in a new location in Fall 2012, but will also be opening a 175-seat bar and grill called Bar2 with it. Therefore, I will have a lot on my plate.
AM: What is your favorite country to eat in and why?
PV: Brazil. The food is non-GMO and is grown naturally, so it is tasty and nutritious. Also, they still eat innards.
Chef Parind Vora’s Spring Rolls Recipe
Spring Roll Wrapper (or use pre-made & frozen)
2 cups all-purpose flour (Maida), sifted
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup ice water
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg and water. Stir with fork until dough holds together and leaves sides of bowl clean.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover dough with a bowl. Allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide dough into fourths. Dust pastry board lightly with cornstarch. Roll each piece of dough to a 14 X 11 inch rectangle. Cut into 3 (1/2 inch) squares. Stack on a plate. Cornstarch will prevent them from sticking together. Fill with filling.
Spring Roll Filling
100-gram packet vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 green onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, peeled, coarsely grated
Button mushrooms, coarsely chopped, sautéed & squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
2 teaspoon cornstarch
20 springs roll wrappers (21.5cm square)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sweet Thai chili sauce
Place noodles in a large, heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain. Using scissors, cut noodles into 2-inch lengths.
Heat a little peanut oil in a pan or a wok until hot. Swirl to coat. Add onion, garlic, button mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add noodles. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool. Wipe wok clean.
Combine cornstarch with 1-tablespoon water in a small bowl. Place 1 wrapper on a board with a corner pointing towards you. Brush edges with cornstarch mixture (keep remaining wrappers covered with damp tea towel). Spoon 1-tablespoon of vegetable mixture into corner of wrapper. Fold corner over filling, then roll up from corner to corner, folding edges in to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining wrappers, cornstarch mixture, and filling.
Pour vegetable oil into wok until one-third full. Heat until a small piece of bread dropped into oil sizzles. Cook spring rolls in batches for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Remove to a wire rack over a baking tray. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining spring rolls. Allow oil to reheat after cooking each batch. Serve hot after cutting on a bias with sweet Thai chili sauce.
Special notes: For wine parings… add nuts to the [chili] sauce to go with red wine; and goat cheese with the spring rolls for white wine.