Fun Food: Vegan Asparagus Wraps
You may recall that I promised a new asparagus recipe still in its gestation period. Today I’m delivering it: Vegan Asparagus Wraps. What I love most about these wraps is that, in my humble opinion, they fit into the category of fun foods. Children (or adults) who say they don’t like vegetables may just try something new if it looks like it might be fun to eat—and anything in a wrap looks like it’s hiding a secret treasure.
Cook the asparagus until just tender, and you’ll hear a crunch with every bite, which creates a pleasure sensation. Crunchy food involves all five senses—you see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, and hear it—amplifying the pleasure explosion in your mouth. (For this reason, I suggest that you buy stalks of a medium thickness rather than the pencil-thin spears, which can easily overcook and lose their crunch.) If you want to make the wraps a one-dish meal, you can add some tofu or tempeh for a satisfying entrée. This wrap is also sturdy enough to be cut into two or three sections for an appealing party appetizer.
The cashew spread is made with tamarind paste, derived from the sour tamarind fruit indigenous to tropical Africa and widely used by cooks in India and across Asia. The combination of cashews and tamarind bathes the asparagus with an epicurean blend of sweet and sour, and the ginger adds a mild spike of heat to get us through these final chilly weeks of spring.
When you make the sauce, I suggest that you use a modest amount of salt and tamarind paste to start. After you’ve blended and tasted it, you can always add more salt and tamarind until the sauce has the perfect zing for your family’s palates. One caution: you might not realize how heating tamarind is because the sweetness of the cashews masks the tamarind’s intensity. A little goes a long way for people with pitta problems, most especially acid indigestion.
Enjoy cooking and serving these unique Vegan Asparagus Wraps to delight all of your senses!