Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vietnamese Spring Roll

Vietnamese cuisine is one that I am rather unfamiliar with.  At most, I know they have a noodle soup dish that my brother likes - pho, and spring rolls!!!  My first experience with Vietnamese spring rolls was neither in Vietnam or my home country!  I actually had my first taste of Vietnamese spring roll when I was on a visit to my brother's family abroad.  It seems that my sister-in-law D's favorite (at that time I guess) was this homey Vietnamese restaurant.  In any case, this is my attempt to recreate that dish that I liked so much.

1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1½ cups lean ground pork
½ cup finely minced shrimps
1 small firm tofu (about 100 grams), sliced into strips
1 small carrot, sliced into thin strips
2 to 3 pieces dried wood ear fungus, rehydrated, sliced into strips
50 grams sotanghon (mung bean vermicelli), soaked in water until soft then drained
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (quality counts)
salt and pepper, to taste
romaine lettuce leaves
rice paper wrappers

Saute onion and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Add ground pork.  When the pork is partially cooked, add shrimp.  Cook until almost done then add the tofu, carrots and wood ear fungus.  Add the vermicelli last and toss together well.  Season with light soy sauce, fish cause, salt and pepper, to taste.

To assemble, wet the rice wrapper slightly to soften it.  Arrange a piece of romaine lettuce leaf on top of the wrapper and place 2 to 4 tablespoons of filling on the leaf.  Roll, fold and seal.

The spring rolls are delicious as is but we also tried frying the spring roll and they were good too.  They're even better with a dipping sauce:  Mix together 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup warm water, 1/8 cup fish sauce, 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 clove of garlic, minced and 1 small birds eye chili, sliced thinly; stir until sugar is dissolved.  Let stand at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

A note about the sugar, I use 1 tablespoon only simply because I am not too keen on sweet sauces but adjust according to your preference.


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