from one generation to the next
Very early in the life of this blog I posted a recipe for Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, the filling my Vietnamese Coleslaw combined with roasted Five Spice Chicken. The photo has been kicking around Pinterest for close to 2 years and is still a regular source of traffic to these pages.
Using the leftover meat, carrots and sauce from our meal of grilled Lemongrass Pork inspired this rice paper roll filling, a lively combination of pickled carrots, sweet garlicky pork, some fresh prawn meat, finely cut vegetables and herbs folded into a lettuce leaf then wrapped in rice paper.
During my catering days Peking duck with batons of spring onion and cucumber and a dab of hoi sin sauce wrapped into a rice paper roll was a popular canapé. Often the sauce would seep through the rice paper if it was prepared too far in advance so I began using a section of cos lettuce leaf as a barrier. This is still the best way I know to make neat rice paper rolls, but I was surprised recently to read this method in a Vietnamese cookbook.
The ubiquitous Nuoc Cham is the perfect dipping sauce for these rice paper rolls, though thinned peanut sauce is also excellent.
1 grilled lemongrass pork cutlet
5 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
1 cup pickled carrot julienne
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 cup finely shredded Chinese cabbage
2 tablespoons snipped garlic chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
7 cos lettuce leaves, halved across the stem
14 rounds of dried Vietnamese rice paper
Cut the pork, prawns and cucumber into long thin strips.
Mix together all the filling ingredients.
Wash and dry the lettuce leaves. Trim off the bottom section of the stem then cut each leaf in half across the breadth.
Fill a bowl with a rim wider than the rice papers with tepid water.
Concentrate on making one roll at a time.
1. Dip the rice paper into the tepid water until just pliable, 5-10 seconds, then lay it on the bench.
2. Take a section of lettuce leaf and using tongs fill it with the prepared salad.
3. Fold the leaf to enclose the filling, then place it on the edge of the rice paper closest to you.
4. Fold over the bottom edge of the rice paper to enclose the lettuce
5. Fold in the sides then roll the remainder into a fat cigar shape
Continue making rice paper rolls until the filling is complete. Don’t let the rolls touch one another while they are fresh as they’ll stick together. Put a sheet of plastic wrap between the layers if you want to stack them up.
The rice paper rolls will keep refrigerated covered in plastic wrap for several hours.
To serve, cut each roll in half on the diagonal and arrange on a platter.
Serve with a dipping sauce