Saturday, February 7, 2009

vietnamese rolls

yum! like take out...from home

i've been trying to widen my cooking skills to include a few international techniques, especially asian cuisine. i learned how to make maki (rolled sushi) a few years ago and even hosted a sushi making party to teach my friends. in a few weeks i'm getting together with my friend helen and she's going to teach me korean sushi and a variety of wraps/dumplings. as i type this, i am watching public television and wouldn't you know it, the chef from silk elephant/bangkok balcony (local restaurants that i love!) is making some pork meatball on lemon grass skewers - if i were paying attention, i might know how to do that, too!

when i saw this easy looking tutorial and recipe for vietnamese rolls in my cooking light magazine, i was excited to learn how to use rice paper sheets. plus, everytime i learn how to do something like this, i don't have to order take out or go to a restaurant to fill my cravings (of which i have a lot...).
plus the recipe included mostly basic ingredients that you can get at regular grocery stores.

lots of fresh ingredients!

vietnamese rolls (from cooking light august 2008)
1 c thinly sliced Bibb lettuce
1/2 c bean sprouts
1/2 c cooked bean threads (cellophane noodles, about 1 ounce uncooked)
1/2 c shredded carrot
1/4 c chopped green onions
1/4 c thinly sliced basil
1/4 c chopped mint
6 oz cooked peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
8 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper

1. combine the first 8 ingredients
2. add hot water (1 inch) to a large, shallow dish
3. place 1 rice paper in dish and allow to soften for 30 seconds or so
4. place sheet on a flat surface
5. arrange 1/3 c mixture over half the sheet leaving 1/2" border
6. fold sides of sheet over filling
7. starting with filled side, roll up away from you and press seal to close (repeat)
8. serve seam side down (cover with moist towel if waiting to serve)

dipping sauce (adapted from cooking light august 2008)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp chile paste with garlic
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

optional: chopped peanuts (i added this)

1. combine all but peanuts and whisk until combined
2. pour into serving dish and top with finely chopped peanuts

time for honesty: i made these months ago and am only just blogging about them. while it wasn't summer, i did have a craving for fresh, summery foods...this certainly fit the bill. mixing up these crisp ingredients was fun and reminded me of mojitos and warm weather. as a note, the noodles are slimy and hard to mix, so i did cut them shorter.

wrapping the spring rolls

i was nervous to wrap because the paper is so thin and seems very delicate. my first few were really loose, so i did adapt and pull them much tighter as i got better. husband also wrapped some...we ate his first one off the cutting board ;) but he also got better and i featured one of his on the serving platter.

they aren't hard to wrap as long as you don't overfill them and really pull the sides in over the filling initially. because i work pretty slow (hey, i was learning!), i had to refill my dish with extra hot water a few times. the paper needs really hot water to properly soften and will tear if it's not fully pliable.

fresh and healthy rolls

i decided to add peanuts to the dipping sauce for some cruch and flavor and i'm glad i did. the sauce is nice and sweet/hot and perfect for the roll. we had a few for dinner and were certainly full - each one is full of healthy stuff. i made so much filling that i had enough to roll some for lunches the next day. they weren't nearly as good the second day, but still a fun lunch that people were eyeing at work. yum. the thing about blogging things from the past is that i really want some today...

ok, public television is teaching me chicken tikka masala now...time to expand my knowledge!


Paul said...

The traditional way is for these to have both pork and shrimp. For a Super Bowl party several years ago I made about 60 summer rolls with shrimp and pork. Used your same ingredients, plus added thin sliced pork tenderloin that I had pan sauteed after rubbing in garlic, oil, salt, pepper, a little brown sugar and chinese five spice powder.

Alauna said...

i remember those! they were good :)

FIL said...

Those look delicious! The peanut sauce reminds me of what you had at Sawatdee in Minneapolis.