Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vietnamese Salad Rolls

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I still remember the day that I asked Andrew this question "what kind of food do you like best?" It is one of those questions you ask during the early dating months, when you are so excited and want to find out everything that there is to know about the other person...

Well, I could have never guessed the answer that came for that question:Vietnamese food. It was a shock for me...

What?? Vietnamese food? What is Vietnamese food? Yup, it's true....I did not know what Vietnamese food was until then. I never actually had a chance to try it until 2004 when I first went to Canada. Needless to say, it was love at first bite. Although there is a lot of meat dishes, I always find nice vegetarian things to eat a Vietnamese restaurant.

So, because it is one of Andrew's favourite foods, I really wanted to learn to make it. It turns out that it is pain in the neck! This was not the first time I made those rolls, I've been practicing for some time. At first, they would break and stick to my fingers. Then, I would manage to make the rolls but the ingredients were all mixed inside and you couldn't tell the shrimp rolls from the tofu or pork ones. I think I finally got it right.

One of the things that helped me was to watch some online videos (this and this). I also got some tips from White on Rice Couple, they have a nice page on how to wrap a rice paper roll that is very helpful. I also got some inspiration from their blog on marinating the tofu pieces for the rolls. Thanks guys!

So I decided to make my own video to show how to make those tricky rolls. This is my first video-recipe, and I am really excited about it. It's not high quality, nor it is meant to be a Utube sensation. But it will hopefully help someone.

First it is important to have all your ingredients ready to go before you start. The fillings for these summer rolls can vary. Some restaurants serve a mix of pork and shrimp, some have it separately, some have tofu and some have only vegetables as a vegetarian option.

You will need:

Rice paper wrapper , plus a bowl of warm warm water to soak them

Rice noodles, cooked and cooled

Shredded or julienned carrots

Beans sprouts

Fresh mint leaves

Iceberg lettuce

Cooked shrimp, split in half lengthwise

Firm tofu, sliced (see note on tofu bellow)

Chives for decoration (optional)

I served these with a store bought peanut sauce, and added some extra crushed peanuts on top.

If you are using tofu, for each 8 oz make a marinade with: 1 clove of chushed garlic, equal parts of soy sauce and vegetable oil (about 1 cup total), a spalsh of sesame oil, 1/2 tbsp of curry powder, 1/4 teas of cumin ,salt, pepper (keep in mind that the soy sauce is already salty). Marinate the tofu for about 1 hour, then pan fry it on a skillet until crisp and golden. Slice into strips.

To make the rolls, first have all ingredients within your reach, including the bow of water. Working with one at the time, soak the rice paper for about 20-30 seconds and place it on a flat surface (I use a large plate).

Place 3 pieces of shrimp, or 1 slice of tofu on the top half of the rice paper.Directly under it (on the lower end of the paper), place the lettuce, beans sprouts, carrots, mint and noodles. Placing the noodles last will make it easier to wrap the roll.

Now to the tricky part: to wrap the roll, start from the sides, folding each side towards the middle making sure they overlap in one point so they will stick together. Roll it from the bottom up, stopping half way to add a piece of chive , if using.

To get a better idea, check out this video.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, yummy! I love Vietnamese food. Those rolls looks really good!



Wandering Chopsticks said...

Good job! It's great that your husband likes VNese food. So are you gonna try some more recipes on him? :)

Rita said...

Rosa - Thanks so much!

WC - there is another VNese dish I make for him that he likes, it involves beef,lemongrass, noodles...He loves it.

Manger La Ville said...

I love these spring roll so much. But what kind of dipping sauce would you put with this.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE making salad rolls! They are so much fun to stuff all kinds of things in. My husband also loves Asian food of all sorts, particularly Thai. We live about 70 miles from the closest Asian restaurant so I learned to make these too. You do a beautiful job on them! Inspires me. I did a post on them last winter but didn't do nearly as good job as you.
Dana Zia

MyLastBite said...

Beautiful photography!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe! I've been wanting a good vegetarian version of these spring rolls. One question, though. Are the cooked pieces of tofu supposed to cool off before rolling? Do you serve these at room or colder temperature?

Dana Treat said...

I've been making these for years and still struggle with them. Yours look perfect!

Rita said...

Manger La Ville - we use a store-bought Asian Peanut sauce,I like it because it's creamy and it sticks to the rolls. I crush some peanuts and sprinkle them on top. But you can make your own by blending peanut butter, soy sauce and hot sauce. Andrew also likes to have them with a fish sauce dip, I thhink it is fish sauce + water + sugar.

Dana Zia - thanks, I took a look at yours, looks good!

MyLastBite - Thanks a lot!

Suzanna - I usually cook the tofu first, so by the time I have everything else assembled they are at room temperature. I don't think I would roll them too hot. I serve the rolls at room temperature. They can be stored in the fridge and brought to toom temp., but the fresher the better.

Dana Treat - thanks so much, they are fun to make.

gaga said...

I love these fresh spring rolls. I can eat them all day!

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

These look AMAZING, can I pull one out of my screen and eat it now? So fresh and soooo tasty!

Anonymous said...

num, looks good! was looking for how to properly roll the salad rolls so they look like they do in the restaraunts... and here it is! :3

Mel said...

I love these! And I love that they are low carb and I can eat them w/o feeling guilty (diabetic). Thanks for sharing the recipe. My favorite food is Vietnamese too :)

Anonymous said...

You make it look so easy... but they look delicious... I assume if you are making shrimp rolls, just put the shrimp in place of the tofu
Awesome Job on the video

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