Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vietnamese summer rolls

Rice papers are available at my local grocery store, and at your local Asian shop. They are opaque and rigid when dry and flexible and almost translucent when moist. To use them, fill a bowl with hot water. Then dip each rice paper into the water for about 10 seconds. Place it on a clean tea towel while you dip two or three more. Then place the fillings on each one and fold over one side. Tuck the top and bottom in and roll closed. Place the roll on a plate with the seam side down while you make the rest of the rolls. In the same way glutinous rice is sticky, the rice paper is tacky to touch and rolls up perfectly into tight packets. A collection of Vietnamese rolls make a refreshing summer dinner, served with rice or salad. Or a very impressive appetiser.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls
adapted from Green Mangoes and Lemon Grass: Southeast Asia's Best Recipes from Bangkok to Bali by Wendy Hutton
makes 15 small rolls

1/2 c (125 ml) water
1/4 c (75 ml) rice vinegar
2 t lime juice
1 t fish sauce or soy sauce
225 g ground pork
15 rice papers
1 carrot, shredded
5 spring onions, chopped
15 lettuce leaves

Put the water, vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce or soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring to the boil.
Add the minced pork and boil for about 5 minutes.
Drain the pork and discard the cooking liquid.
Prepare a large bowl of very hot water. Place one rice paper into the water for 10 seconds, then place onto a clean, dry tea towel. Repeat with two more rice papers.
Place a lettuce leaf in the centre of each rice paper. Add the pork, carrot and spring onions.
Fold the right side over the filling, then fold in the top and bottom. Fold towards the left to make a tight roll. Place it on a plate with the seam side down. Repeat with the other two rice papers.
Continue to make rolls using the rest of the rice papers.

The fillings can be easily adapted to include prawns (cook in the vinegar mixture), bean sprouts, snap peas, mint leaves, and coriander leaves.


Shannon Skafte said...

I have been dying to try something Vietnamese, but I've been a little terrified - but these seem simple and easy.. I'll try them.. I think they even fit with my Gestational Diabetic diet... Yummy!

PharmaFoodie said...

For the uncoordinated (which I am), the rice paper can be challenging. I've thought about misting each one with water because I seem to either not dip it long enough so it's a little hard or dip it too long and it becomes mushy. Vietnamese restaurants sometimes have a neat stacking device, like individual flat mesh trays, which keeps the rice papers damp and separated. I have no idea what they're called but I'd like to get one since Vietnamese spring rolls are so good in the summer.

Sarah said...

Hi Shannon, it's great to hear that this kind of food will work for you at the moment. :) I tried a Vietnamese salad recently, too; I think it is my new cuisine of choice!

PharmaFoodie, wow--that mesh tray contraption sounds like a great idea. That would take out all the guess work. They are amazing, those little rice disks. I was astounded at how they stuck closed like cling film after I rolled them.

Sarah said...

PharmaFoodie, I think I found the rice paper trays, but I'm not sure where to buy them still. Very cool looking!

PharmaFoodie said...

My best guess would be to look in the cookware section of the grocery stores in your area? (I was going to write Asian grocery stores, but considering you live in Hong Kong, I realized that would be redundant since I assume the majority of the grocery stores around you should be Asian!) They are amazingly gluey, those little things but those trays really help when you're making your own rolls in a restaurant. Happy hunting!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I was JUST going to make these last night! I ran out of time, as it was a busy night, but I'm sure I'll be making some vietnamese spring rolls this weekend. Such a nice, light summer dinner.

kaye said...

I love how it looks. plus it looks healthy and delicious

Anonymous said...

Made this for matt and bree as well! I used tilapia instead of pork. They are so summery and delightful!! You need to post more recipes! Love trying them out :)

Sarah said...

Hey, Jennifer. I learned about tilapia before writing back to you--it is a new fish for me. It sounds like a really nice dinner. :) I will keep posting recipes as long as you keep making them. heehee!

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