Crispy Chilli Tofu Rice Paper Rolls and a Small Rant

Vegan, Low Fat, Gluten Free
This week a very small thing happened that made me sad, and then it made me quite angry. Someone posted a judgmental comment on my Instagram! Don’t worry, this happens all the time. Mostly I laugh, and show my friends. Sometimes I troll them and write something dumb on their Instagram. Usually I just ignore it and feel mildly flattered that people take the time to comment on my photos at all.

But this particular thing upset me because it was a judgment about the fact that my photo of breakfast had eggs in it. Yes, I do eat eggs. I’ve never claimed to be a vegan here or on any other internet space, but I completely understand why one might think I am vegan when so many of the things I eat and make are animal product free. (Plus I also hashtag all my vegan photos a ridiculous amount of times – #veganfoodshare #vegansofig #bestofvegan and my possible favourite/most dumb of all hashtags #healthyveganfoodshare)
But I really hate when people criticise others (period) but more specifically when they bring judgment to an aspect of that person’s lifestyle choices, when that person is obviously making a conscious effort and doing what they can already. It doesn’t achieve anything except encourage that person to become defensive, and usually to defend their actions even more than they normally would. I’ve noticed ever since that this kind of thing isn’t confined to veganism or just dietary choices; it transcends every social choice we make.

In case I’m not make sense here’s an example – if someone talks about how they’ve started recycling and how it is easy and everyone else should too, there is always that person that points out “Well you use a washing machine which is a huge waste of water resources!” What? Why does one thing cancel out the other? Why must making the decision to recycle suddenly transform someone into an environmentalist responsible for every aspect of their lives having a negative impact on the planet??

This happens when I say I am a vegetarian all the time. “But you eat yogurt. And eggs.” “But you eat tofu made of soybeans which means you kill monkeys living in the rainforest.” “But you use dishwashing liquid so you kill sea life” and the list continues. This kind of thing is so unproductive I almost can’t give a polite reply anymore.

I really care about animals. I mean I really care. I rarely have to justify it to the people I know because it’s obvious. I see those ads on the back of buses protesting against live animal export and I cry on the street like a baby. But I never ever look down on my friends and family for eating meat, or buying leather, or any decisions they make. Why? Because it isn’t my place, and it achieves nothing. It reinforces the stereotype that vegetarians and vegans are extremists and should therefore be silenced or ignored.
I believe that if the people I care about, and the rest of the world for that matter, properly understood how cruel and self-serving the meat production industry has become, they would give up meat in a heartbeat. Wilful ignorance is probably the most dangerous thing our generation possesses, because it affects all of us on so many levels. I’m guilty of it myself. I know in my heart of hearts that eggs come from chickens, and yes I only eat free-range organic, but there’s still hundreds of male chicks bred each year for laying purposes that are killed.

The only thing that can actively change people’s minds isn’t judgment or criticism, it’s education. When systems of cruelty and oppression are properly exposed, 9 out of 10 times people will find they cannot live with the knowledge that they are an active and thriving part of that process. I don’t eat meat because I am fully aware of the cruelty animals are treated with in the meat industry, and I can’t justify it to myself anymore. Sometimes I wish I could just scream this at people to see what is staring them in the face, but I don’t. They would think I was crazy! Instead I try and educate them – recommend books, movies, explain the truth behind the industries at work. I never pass judgment because it just shuts people out, which is exactly what happened on my Instagram.

I didn’t agree with the comment. I didn’t stop eating eggs, instead I felt insulted and riled. I didn’t think about what that person was trying to say, which is that the egg-laying industry is poorly constructed and impossibly cruel to chickens. Something I identify with! If they had started a discussion and explained why they don’t eat eggs, things could have turned out differently than how they did.

Have a lovely week everyone!! PS I made rice paper rolls inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme and they are delicious!

One year ago: Mixed Berry and Honey Frozen Yogurt 

Screen shot 2014-07-07 at 5.08.57 PM
Crispy Chilli Tofu Rice Paper Rolls – inspired from here
1 packet large rice paper roll sheets
2-3 bunches thin vermicelli noodles
250g firm tofu, cut into 1cm by 1cm strips
2 tbsp chilli oil (olive oil with 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
1 carrot, very finely sliced
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
large handful of butter or iceberg lettuce, shredded
handful of thai basil
handful of mint
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips

For the Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp palm sugar
1/2 a birds eye chilli, finely sliced
1 shallot strip, thinly sliced.
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Place the carrots in a small bowl and mix the vinegar and water together. Pour over the carrots and leave to pickle for at least 20 minutes.
Shallow fry the tofu strips in the chilli oil until golden on each side.
Cook the vermicelli according to packet instructions. Have all your filling ingredients at the ready!
Place three plates out in front of you, and all your bowls of filling in front of that. In the plate on the far right, boil a kettle of water and pour enough water in so that the plate isn’t overflowing, but you can submerge a rice paper sheet.
Gently dip the sheet under the water, using your fingers to stop it curling in on itself. Once dunked transfer it onto the second plate. Lay a few sprigs of basil and mint in the centre of the paper, followed by a small tangle of vermicelli. Lay a strip or two of tofu, two pieces of carrot, a piece of avocado and some lettuce on top. Take up the bottom of the circle closest to you and pull half way up over the ingredients. Keeping it in place with a finger, take the top half of the circle and fold down to cover the rest of the ingredients. Peel the left hand side of the circle firmly up and pull tightly to the right, over the ingredients. Now continue to roll the roll towards the right, until the rice paper roll is completely rolled. Place on the plate far on the left and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Makes about ten. enjoy them fresh!

37 thoughts on “Crispy Chilli Tofu Rice Paper Rolls and a Small Rant

  1. Just wondering if you know that you can block people on IG? I find that the anonymity of the internet allows people to behave selfishly and mannerlessly – in a way that most wouldn’t dream or have the courage to in person. Ignore, ignore, ignore and BLOCK!! Life is too short to waste energy on trolls and do-gooders. I recycle, use a washing machine and a dishwasher, shop local and give all our old/grown-out of clothes and shoes to charity. You do what you can do!

  2. Firstly, these crispy chilli rolls look absolutely divine- I love the pictures on your instagram! I cannot wait to try the recipe, Lilli! I think it sad when people have to be super negative to others over the internet. Only the other day, I got a really horrible comment from someone who tried my recipe and she started to complain about how it didn’t taste right.
    Take no notice of these kind of people, keep sharing your amazing recipes! 🙂 x

    • Aw thank you Jess! I get so many of those comments where the recipe didn’t work right for them. It always gets me down because I feel like I’ve failed them! All your recipes look so delicious though 🙂 I would blame myself if something didn’t taste right!

  3. Your words mirror my thoughts this week to a T!! I had someone leave a judgemental comment on FB about me eating yoghurt?! Just like you, I’ve never claimed to be vegan but do eat a mostly vegan diet, except for yoghurt and eggs. I felt hurt and pissed off beyond belief. I grew up vegetarian as you know, and have never eaten meat at all (other than the sausage my grandad made me eat once), so I don’t feel the need to explain my choices to anyone. I respect peoples food choices and never, ever preach. But this comment just got my back up. It’s hard to brush off such judgemental hateful comments I know, but we’ve just got to rise above. We both know we are doing the best that we can to live a heathy conscious life. Xx Ps I was going to comment even before I saw your inspiration for these rice paper rolls!! So glad you loved them xx

    • I hate that people feel they can be so judgmental! Especially when your blog is full of such healthy and conscientious, beautiful food it just doesn’t make sense to me where the negativity comes from. Thanks so much for commenting. By the way the rice paper rolls were amazing! The whole family loved them 🙂 And my sister adored the avocado chocolate tart as well xx

  4. It’s sad alright. Btw. I posted my rice wraps the other day and having seen this post, I should have turned it into one of those comedy ” nailed it” images lol. Your wraps look spectacular.

  5. Such a shame that someone decided to do something so unnecessary, I’m so sorry it upset you 😦 like Selma said, ignore it and continue to do what you do xx fab rice paper rolls by the way x

  6. Understandable that you were riled. You have such a gorgeous blog full of amazing recipes, beautiful photographs and it represents who you are, a caring soul who is thoughtful about the food choices you make, which is very admirable. 🙂 I must make these rice paper rolls. I actually crave these and am usually disappointed when I order them out.

  7. Well said, Lillith. I really liked the way you wrote the post. It’s sad to see people being so judgmental about other people’s life choices and they clearly didn’t have the right to make you feel bad about your choice of eating eggs. I myself am not a vegetarian (I’ve tried to and it just doesn’t work for my health/anxiety/etc), but I do enjoy eating mostly plant-based and I definitely respect vegetarian and vegan beliefs. Which I cannot stand are those kind of vegetarians trying to convert everybody by critisising their choices. Yes, I agree that the world would be a better place if we all could give up animal products but bullying non-vegans and making them feel bad about their choices isn’t the way to go!
    Sorry that you got such nasty comments. I myself get a lot of feedback from people saying “”how horrible one of my recipe looks because I used cottage cheese/beans/vegetables etc” when they haven’t even tried them! I’m trying not to let it get to me, but sorry, that’s just plain rude! Chin up girl! Don’t let the haters get to you – you’re one wonderful lady and cook! And these rice rolls look absolutely amazing! xxx

    • Aw thank you so much Consuelo! Who would ever comment on one of your recipes saying it looked bad?! They all look absolutely delicious! People can be so rude on the internet. I 100% agree I have tried with veganism but my health/lifestyle at the moment just can’t support it. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire vegans, I just can’t be a vegan myself right now! Everyone just needs to do what works for them and save their judgment of others for something more worthwhile 🙂

  8. As a vegan I cringe every time I hear a story like yours. The biggest problem is that some people are drawn to veganism because its an “extreme” way of eating and a good way to stand out from the crowd. I am completely going to agree with you about vilifying someone for their dietary choices being a really stupid way to educate them. As soon as you start lecturing someone they switch off. Ever been to uni? I rest my case! ;). Seriously though, what is it with people like this and their desire to elevate their own senses of self worth by pointing out everyone elses “problems” eh? We should be applauding people who choose not to eat meat. I feel the need to apologise for this numpty. Being a vegan should be a choice that we personally make in order to map out our life path and do the least amount of harm NOT something that we pick up and bash other people over the head with. There are ample opportunities to teach people with love and joy and shared community without having to resort to lynch mobs…sigh…

    • I totally agree with you! And admire you for being vegan! I think a lot of people that over-identify with the whole “vegan” label are more doing it for the extreme nature of the diet (even though it really isn’t that extreme). There’s a lot of great people out there doing it for the environment and for all the right reasons though, which is something I definitely aspire to! Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  9. Hi love. I’m so sorry about that instagram experience. I have had similar things happen. It can be upsetting. But thank you for continuing to share with us. Your honesty, words, and recipes are always so refreshing. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Jeeze – it would be easy for me to spew sharp criticism in reaction to such simple-minded criticisers. But then I would 1. put the spotlight on what was said 2. behave in the same limited fashion. I have no intention of putting any energy there, so I will not waste another word on what was said . Instead: I find it inspiring that you share such healthy and delicious recipes (and with that a positive mindset) – I love reading your posts and your recipes exactly because you are not dogmatic or rigid!

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. I remember being at a bloggers conference and someone having a similar experience. I’m curious, did you write a response back at all? Or, perhaps, this post is your response!? This hasn’t happened to me yet, but I feel like it’s an inevitable part of blogging, especially as you grow and accumulate more readers. BTW the spring rolls look incredibly delicious, and I love your blue bowl! 🙂

    • Thank you Bonnie! Yeah I did write a response saying “I’m not actually vegan” and they responded in turn quoting stuff I’d said in the past that suggested I was vegan…which I thought was very rude! I wrote a pretty abrupt comment back asking them not to bring judgment to my instagram space because we were all like-minded people with the same good intentions, or something along those lines. Needless to say she didn’t reply! I think it’s true the more you put yourself out there and be true to yourself the more people are going to react negatively as well as positively. That’s my favourite bowl!

      • Good for you…if I get a comment like that I’ll be doing the exact same thing! You are awesome and brave, I am officially a “follower” now! 😉

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