Sunday, 1 September 2019

Under wraps,wrap party

Homemade Fresh Summer Rolls with Easy Peasy Peanut Dipping Sauce
I think that Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are one of those things that people love but always assume are just too fiddly or too hard to make. To dispel that myth, let me tell you – I am not into fiddly. That’s why you’ll never see fancy decorated cakes on this blog. I simply don’t have the patience or co-ordination for fiddly dishes – sweet or savoury. Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are packed with bright, fresh flavours and served with an insanely addictive Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce that takes a minute to make. So let's keep this one under wraps until we've practiced and perfected it sufficiently. These spring rolls are a refreshing change from the usual fried variety. They are great as a cool summertime appetizer, and are delicious dipped in one or both of the sauces. Even the hardest of hard-core carnivores devour these as enthusiastically as they would a rack of ribs.They truly are that good.Vietnamese food is my idea of the ultimate “accidentally healthy” food.There are a handful of deep fried recipes,but generally, most Vietnamese dishes are really fresh, full of bright flavours, pretty colours and loaded with herbs and salads, with just a bit of protein. Dressings and sauces are refreshingly light and devoid of oil, unlike basically every Western dressing.
Oh! And before I forget – THE PEANUT SAUCE! This peanut sauce is essential!! This is a Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce. The 2 key ingredients are peanut butter and hoisin sauce which is thinned out with either milk or water (I used milk for colour, using water, the sauce is darker).
Why not try filling them with plump, sweet prawns, avocado and a sprig of purple basil and slithers of fresh mango. Vary the filling combinations according to what’s seasonal or to your personal preferences.These wraps also make ideal summer canapés
 
7 - 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5" round rice paper 
2 cooked chicken breasts,skinned and shredded
2 cups finely shredded chinese cabbage
1 cup grated carrot
172 cup freshly chopped mint leaves
fresh coriander leaves
crispy fried shallots
dry roasted peanuts

DRESSING
2 fresh chillies,seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp nam pla ,fish sauce
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 spring onions finely sliced

Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter, preferably smooth (crunchy is ok too)
2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lime juice)
1/3 cup milk (any fat %) (or water) 1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp crushed chilli, samba oelak or other chilli paste, adjust to taste (optional)


ORIGINAL PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE: The one I have provided in the recipe is more authentic and akin to what you get at Vietnamese restaurants .But here is the original one.

½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis, it's thick like syrup)
2 small garlic cloves (or 1 large), minced
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
Water


Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredientsin a saucepan Mix  until smooth. Set aside to cool. Adjust sour with vinegar, salt with salt and spiciness to taste. Thickness can be adjusted with milk or water once cooled.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn't need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.
Place rice papers one at a time into the warm water. Note which side is the smooth side - this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice paper into the water for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn't large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that's fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
On the top part of the rice paper, place a spoonful of the filling as you would make a tortilla wrap
Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up very tightly. Then keep rolling firmly. The rice paper is sticky, it will seal itself.
Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.


NOTES
Milk doesn't add flavour to the sauce, it just makes it a lighter colour so you know it's a peanut sauce. This is the colour of the sauce at most Vietnamese restaurants. So you can use water if you prefer, but the sauce will be a darker brown.
The secret to success here is not to leave the wrappers in the water bath too long, they will continue to soften after you have dipped them in the water.

STORAGE: Some recipes will tell you that you can make rice paper rolls the day before and you can keep them moist with a damp paper towel. Firstly, I find that the rice paper rolls smelt of towel and secondly, they didn't hold up well at all. My rule of thumb is 6 hours (max 8) - you can make them up to 6 hours ahead, tightly wrap each one in cling wrap as soon as you make them and refrigerate. Don't just put them on a plate and put cling wrap on the plate, you should roll up each on in cling wrap (you should be able to fit 2 per piece of cling wrap - wrap one first, then place another next to it and roll up with the remaining cling wrap).

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