Thursday, March 7, 2013

Vietnamese salad rolls - Gỏi Cuốn

Oh hello lovely readers. I know I've been absent for a few weeks, but work has been crazy and my free time has been pretty much tied up with trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, going to the gym oh ya and eating a few meals here or there. Yes I'm very dramatic this morning - you love it. Anyway what I've lacked in blogging last month I've certainly made up for with cooking. My callus index finger from where I hold my chefs knife is proof, not to mention the burn marks on my hand from where I sizzled them on the BBQ by accident about a week ago. I'm so glad to finally be able to sit down and write after this crazy month. 

Today I'm going to tell you about a simple Vietnamese dish that takes fresh shredded vegetables and transforms them into a  refreshing tasty salad wrapped up in a rice paper roll. I have to admit I rarely order these in a restaurant because I usually find them extremely boring and bland. Many Vietnamese restos skimp out and fill the rolls with iceberg lettuce and rice paper noodles. Making these at home you can stuff them with whatever you want, shredded chicken, poached shrimp, apples, mango, carrots, peppers you name it.

INGREDIENTS: I'll leave this up to you and your taste buds. This list is to give you some ideas. The only thing to keep in mind is that everything should be finely julienned (shredded).

PREP: Very thinly slice your veg using a sharp chefs knife or a mandolin. Fill a large bowl with warm water for the rice paper rolls. You can make your dipping sauces well in advance I like a chili hoisin sauce or a peanut vinaigrette. I'll post recipes for those sauces at the end of this post. 

1 - Place rice paper in the bowl of warm water until soft (about 30 seconds), pat it dry on a a clean kitchen towel, then flatten out on a cutting board. If you want to make mini rolls like the ones above slice the rice paper into four pieces (like a pizza).
2 - If you are using shrimp slice them in half lengthwise and place them pink side down in the center of the rice paper.
3 - stack your veggies on top of each other in layers for aesthetic purposes or just toss in any of the ingredients you like except for your green herbs ie. mint, cilantro, basil etc...
4 - Fold the sides towards the center, then the bottom.
5 - Place your herbs on top of that bottom folded flap
6 - Roll the top flap over the herbs

CHILI HOISIN SAUCE: Whisk everything together
Combine 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce with 1-2 Tbs of sambal
1/2 tbs minced ginger, and a spritz or splash of orange, lemon or lime juice. 

PEANUT VINAIGRETTE: Whisk everything together adding the water in last until you reach desired consistency
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 limes, zest and juice
2 tangerines or mandarins, zest & juice
2 tbs honey
1/4 cup light soy sauce or tamari
1 tbs sambal
1 tbs rice wine vinegar 
splash of fish sauce - optional 
drizzle of sesame oil 
1/4 - 1/2 cup of water 

Garnish with chopped toasted peanuts, black sesame and fresh herbs. Enjoy!


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