Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

These are healthy gluten free, vegan and very easy to make. Whenever we end up in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant we never fail to order these. I think the key ingredient for authenticity is thai basil leaves. I've omitted the vermicelli rice noodles in this version. The dried rice paper sheets can be found in asian supermarkets.

For the spring rolls:
1 pack of dried rice paper sheets
2 handfuls of lettuce leaves (Romaine is recommended for it's crunch)
3 medium sized carrots, sliced thin, julienne-style
120g of firm Tofu, sliced into ¼ inch thick strips
1 small bunch of thai basil

Prepare the filling ingredients ahead of time and set to one side of the work area. Make sure there is a clean surface, ideally a large chopping board, to roll the spring rolls. Pour some hot water (not boiling) into a large mixing bowl or container large enough to soak the rice paper. Gently soak the rice paper one at a time, it may take between 5 seconds and 15 seconds to soften completely but make sure the paper is no longer stiff.

Take the softened rice paper and carefully lay out on work surface. Place lettuce, tofu, carrots and thai basil  down the middle of the paper. carefully wrap the rice paper and roll tightly to finish the roll. Please note that the rice paper is fragile and will end up breaking if the wrap is forced too tightly, however it is necessary to have some level of tightness otherwise it will come apart.

Repeat this until the filling is used up and save the leftover rice paper. Cut each roll with a sharp knife into three sections. This make approximately 8 rolls. Serve these with either sweet chilli sauce or Peanut dipping sauce.

For the peanut dipping sauce:
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon of gluten free soy sauce
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
3 cloves, finely ground

Combine all the ingredients above to create the sauce, it's similar to satay and works well with fresh spring rolls.

Home made sweet chilli sauce:
 Juice of 1 lime
¼ rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of white sugar
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons of very finely diced red chilli or chilli paste (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh corriander (optional)

Mix all ingredients well until sugar has fully dissolved and serve.

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