Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls

At the end of March we headed up to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for an activity packed weekend away. One of the great things we did was a thai cooking class. I will try to reproduce some of the dishes in the near future but this recipe is not one of them. Why then, you are wondering, don't I get to the point of how this relates to this recipe. Well we made spring rolls which were delicious and very easy to make but they are something I had never got around to making as I thought they would be really fiddly - but great news is they aren't and they taste great. So although my spring rolls were rather deformed I thought I would try another recipe that requires careful wrapping - the spring rolls' healthy sibling - the rice paper roll. It is stuff full of crisp cool veggies, low in fat and requires little cooking which is perfect for those days when you really don't want to stand in front of the stove.

Now that the stickier humid weather is back with us in Singapore (not that is ever very cool here) I think I will be making these little lovelies quite a bit using what ever veggies and fresh herbs I have to hand. I made half of these rolls with prawns for my OH, JC, and replaced them with oyster mushrooms for me. I think you could put whatever you like in these from mango to chicken or avocado to tofu just remember to use lots of nice fresh herbs and a tasty dipping sauce.I served mine with two dipping sauces but you could just serve with good quality shop bought sweet chilli sauce if you prefered. The hoisin & peanut dipping sauce is not gluten free as most hoisin sauces contain small amounts of wheat. I have therefore included a sweet & sour dipping sauce which is gluten free which is nice but there are no photos of it.

Vietnamese Style Rice Paper Rolls (Makes 6 rolls)
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Meat Version, Vegetarian

Ingredients For Rolls
6 Large oyster mushrooms or alternatively 12 large prawns raw
30g Dried rice vermicelli
20g Carrot
80g Cucumber
40g Red pepper
40g Bean sprouts
25g Spring Onion
6 Rice Paper wrappers
Large sprig of mint leaves
Large sprig of coriander (cilantro) leaves

  • The first thing to do is to cook everything that needs cooking so that there is time for it to chill. If you are making the hoisin & peanut or sweet & sour sauce make these first (see recipes below) before anything else and chill in the fridge. 
  • If using prawns then lightly poach in water for a few minutes until cooked through. Rinse under cold water and chill in fridge or lightly saute the oyster mushrooms in a pan with no oil until soft. Chill in the fridge. 
  • Place rice vermicelli in a large bowl or pan. Pour over boiling water and allow to soak for 5-10 mins until white in colour and cooked through. Drain and rinse under cold water and then chill in fridge.
  • Now whilst the cooked ingredients are chilling in the fridge prepare the vegetables. Peel and finely cut the carrot and cucumber into thin strips. Deseed the cucumber if very pippy and only use the firm flesh. Thinly slice the red pepper and spring onion . Place all vegetable ingredients and fresh herbs on a plate ready to assemble the rice paper rolls. 

Ready to Roll
  • Once the rice vermicelli and mushrooms/prawns are cool it is time to start assembling. 
  • Pour near boiling water into a bowl and dip one rice paper wrapper in. It is ready when it stops being stiff and making a crinkly noise and becomes like a flexible piece of cloth (normally between 10-20 seconds for me). You may need tongs to remove the wrapper from the water. 
  • Place soaked wrapper on a plate. Add 1/6th of the fillings slightly off centre of the wrapper (see below). As the wrapper is translucent add the most attractive things to of the filling first e.g prawns and herbs as they will be what you see. 
Add ingredients slightly off centre

  • Now fold over the shorter side of the wrapper over the filling. Tuck the sides in to ensure the filling doesn't come out. Continue rolling until wrap covers the filling. The wrap will stick to itself and remain sealed. 

Tuck and roll

  • Repeat until all rolls are done & eat immediately with dipping sauces.  

Hoisin & Peanut Dipping Sauce
Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free

1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 tbsp Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 tbsp coconut cream
2 tbsp water

  • Add all ingredients to a small pan over a low heat and stir until mixed together and making a smooth sauce. Chill in fridge until ready to use. 

Simple Dipping Sauce 
Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

1/2tsp sesame oil
1tsp wheat free tamari
2tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
few drops of tabasco or few thin slices chilli

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more lime or tamari if required. Chill until ready to serve.

Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce
Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

1tbsp Heinz tomato ketchup
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic crushed
1tsp cornstarch
2tsp water

  • Add all ingredients in a small pan over a low heat and stir well. Allow to boil and thicken. Taste and admore sugar or vinegar if needed. Allow to cool in fridge until ready to serve. 

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