mardi 13 juillet 2010

Spring Rolls (gỏi cuốn)

When it’s too hot to turn on the stove, operate the microwave oven, or summon the energy to walk to the utensil drawer and withdraw a knife and fork, how do we do when we want to make good food?

Answer: prepare a fresh raw vegetable salad, in convenient utensil-less roll form: Vietnamese spring rolls, gỏi cuốn.

These spring rolls are very popular items at summer parties. Don’t get discouraged that the whole batch will be gone in less time than it took you to roll one measly roll. They don’t keep overnight, so they’re better off being eaten than hoarded.

The ingredients in a spring roll, like any salad, can be adjusted to taste. However, a spring roll is not Vietnamese without cilantro and mint inside. Besides this, the classic fillers are lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced carrot, bean sprouts, green onion, and either shrimp or pork. Shrimp is prettier, and if you buy pre-cooked shrimp, doesn’t require cooking. I don’t use vermicelli noodles in my spring rolls because I find it to be tasteless bulk, as the rice paper is already there.

The best sauce to serve the rolls with is a peanut sauce; alternately a sweet Hoisin sauce with crushed peanuts mixed in or sweet chili sauce can be used.

Spring Rolls
Makes 16-18 rolls

1 pound small shrimp, pre-cooked and peeled
1 head butter lettuce, ribs removed
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 cucumber, thinly sliced into strips
3 carrots, thinly sliced into strips
16-20 garlic chives or Chinese chives
1 package rice paper (banh trang)

1) Fill a medium bowl with warm water and submerge a piece of rice paper into water. Wait one minute for the rice paper to soften, then take it out and spread on a cutting board.
2) Place a lettuce leaf at the lower end of the rice paper. Add mint, cilantro, cucumber and carrot.
3) Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Add shrimp with the sliced side facing up. Fold the sides inwards and add a chive over the shrimp with 1 inch sticking outside of one side for a decorative effect. Continue rolling while keeping tension on the rice paper for a tight roll. The roll will seal itself.
4) As you are rolling, place a damp paper towel over the finished rolls to prevent them from drying out.
5) Serve with peanut Hoisin dipping sauce.

Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce
makes 2 cups

1 cup water
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon whole soybean sauce, crushed
3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
4-6 tablespoons peanut butter
2-3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or diced chilies to taste
1 ounce dry roasted peanuts, chopped

1) In a small sauce pan, add water and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
2) Add soy sauce, crushed soybean sauce, Hoisin sauce, 4 tablespoons peanut butter and chili garlic sauce. Stir until peanut butter is dissolved and the sauce thickens. Add additional peanut butter until desired thickness (like mustard) is obtained. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish sauce with chopped peanuts.

1 commentaire:

  1. This looks really good and refreshing in a hot summer day like today. You're getting so good with the Vietnamese dishes now.