Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

I have had the flu for most of this week, and have been eating an exciting (not!) diet of oatmeal, brown rice, pasta, and Ovaltine. And not that much of anything but the Ovaltine. Today I am feeling much better however, and had a craving for something green and crunchy. Hmm... spring rolls.

They are really quite easy to make (once you have made a few and get the feel for them) although somewhat time-consuming. They can be made several hours in advance; keep them cool and covered with a clean, dampish tea towel until wanted.

I made very simple ones, with just noodles and a salady assortment of veggies. You can add little strips of cooked pork, beef, chicken, fish or tofu if you like. These are a great way to use up bits of left-overs, and you can certainly vary the veggies according to what you have on hand. Just keep it light and salady, and be sure to add some fresh mint or basil. Cilantro is often added as well.

Edit: I wasn't thinking of it when I posted this, but of course this is yet another member of the infinitely flexible pasta family, and therefore an entry for Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon a Feast. Check them out!

12 spring rolls (approx.)
1 hour - 1 hour prep time

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping SaucePeanut Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sucanat or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind purée
1/2 teaspoon chile sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Dissolve the peanut butter in the boiling water, and mix in the remaining ingredients. Taste the sauce, and if any of the ingredients seem inadequately represented, add a little more.

This can be done a day ahead, if you like, and kept in the fridge. Bring it up to room temperature before using.

Spring Rolls:
3 cups mixed shredded greens, such as lettuce, cabbage, or spinach
1 or 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint and/or basil
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 cup enoki or sliced button mushrooms
3/4 cup broccoli sprouts
3/4 cup alfalfa sprouts

50 grams (2 ounces) bean thread noodles (aka cellophane or glass noodles)
12 dry ricepaper spring roll wrappers (more or less)

Prepare the vegetables, and mix them together.

Soak the bean thread noodles in warm (tap) water until they are transparent. Cut them up with scissors, then drain them well.

Set up a large shallow bowl full of hot tap water, a plate to work on, and a platter on which to pile the finished rolls.

Immerse a rice paper sheet in the hot water. Swish it around until it is soft enough to fold without breaking, but do not oversoak it, or it will get weak, floppy, clingy, inclined to tear and hard to work with. Remove it, letting any excess water run back into the bowl. The wrapper will continue to soften for a minute or two once it is removed from the water. Lay it on the plate, and put a portion of the vegetables and noodles (i.e. about 1/12th of each), and any other fillings in a short, wide line across the bottom quadrant.

Fold the bottom of the wrapper up to cover the filling, then fold in the sides so that they are the same width as the filling all the way up. Roll up the spring roll and place it on the platter.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.


Kevin said...

I made some crab summer rolls with a cashew dipping sauce on the weekend. I really liked the fresh, crispy/crunchy vegetables, the mint and basil along with a nice and savoury dipping sauce mmm... A perfect combination of fresh and savoury. Your rolls look good! The peanut butter sauce sounds really tasty. I like the sound of the tamarind in the sauce.

Peter M said...

Ferdzy, I have some spring rolls this evening, nice appetizer to round out my big bowl of Pho!

Bellini Valli said...

These are so refreshing any season of the year :) My favourite place The Laughing Moon is closed for renovations and they have the BEST...of course I haven't tasted yours of course :)

Ruth Daniels said...

I love pasta I can eat with my fingers! And Vietnamese Spring Rolls are high on my list. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Not sure why I didn't get it in time for this week's roundup but you'll be up front with the other 2 I missed...my apologies.

And don't forget the big birthday bash in two weeks...Presto Pasta Night will be one year old!

Psychgrad said...

Yum! A friend of mine made a similar recipe not too long ago and I've been thinking about replicating it since. I'll definitely add this to my "to try" list. Thanks.

Christie said...

This is pretty much what I'm making for my app tonight :)
I'll have to try your peanut sauce, I've never added tamarind...

Psychgrad said...

I finally found an opportunity to make these rolls. They're great! You can check them out here. Thanks for the inspiration.