These are a favorite of mine in the summer, very little heat is required, and they are nice and light so you don’t feel all stuffed after eating them, of course you’re hungry again 2 hours after eating them, but whatever, grab a burger. They are also good party/bbq appetizers as they can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
Salad rolls are typically served with 2 different sauces, one is thin but strong sweet/sour sauce with some chilli’s and fish sauce, the other is a Vietnamese mod of Chinese Hoi Sin sauce. I usually make both.
- 1/2 cup white vinegar.
- 1/2 cup water.
- 1/2 cup sugar.
- 1 tablespoon sambal olek, or chilli garlic sauce, or 2 tbsp crushed dry chillis.
- 2 tablespoons vietnamese fish sauce.
- 2 tbsp fine diced onion.
- 2 tbsp fine diced red bell pepper.
Place all ingredients in a pot and boil at high heat until the mixture has reduced by 1/3, strain and set aside to cool. This smells VERY funky while cooking, the fish sauce is like liquid anchovies, don’t worry, it tastes good.
If you can find Lee Kum Kee, Vietnamese style hoi sin, just use that, it comes in a squeeze bottle as opposed to the jar normal hoi sin comes in. Otherwise;
- 1/3 cup Chinese hoi sin.
- 1/4 cup sugar.
- 2 tbsp water.
- 2 tbsp ketchup.
- 1 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce.
- 1 tbsp soy sauce.
- dash rice wine vinegar.
Stir the ingredients until the sugar dissolves,
top with crushed peanuts.
For the salad rolls, you will need.
4 ‘cakes/bricks’ Chinese rice noodles. I have tried a lot of different rice noodles for this recipe, and the ones that come in the package in pic #1 work the best, use what you can find, you want about 4 cups of rehydrated noodles when you are done.
A pack of Vietnamese rice sheets, get the square ones if you can, they are way easier to work with, don’t buy the small ones, unless you want tiny salad rolls for appies.
- 100 g mung bean sprouts.
- A head of iceberg or leaf lettuce.
- 20 medium size prawns, cooked and cut lengthwise, or 40 small cooked prawns from a ‘shrimp ring’, tails removed in both cases.
- 1/2 a chicken, deboned, deskinned, and shredded. I like using chicken as it is a little more filling.
- 100 g Thai Basil, Thai basil smells like basil and anise, you can use regular fresh basil if you can’t find it.
- 1 bunch cilantro.
- 1 bunch green onions.
Rehydrate the rice noodles by submerging them a pot of boiling water that has just been taken off the heat. You don’t want to cook them, the rice starch is already cooked. It will take about 20 minutes for the rice noodles to break apart and get flexible. You need to drain off the water and let them cool as soon as they are ready, don’t run cold water over them as this affects the texture, just let them cool in a wide bowl like the one in pic#1, tossing them a bit once in a while.
Pluck the leaves off the Thai basil and cilantro, and chop the green onions coarsely. Rinse the mung bean sprouts well, unless you like to shit a lot.
Tear or chop the lettuce into pieces.
The show; (sorry I should have had pics for most of this, but it was not until this point that I thought ‘hey, I should post this method’)
Make sure you have a large, clean, piece of countertop to work on. Take one of the rice sheets and run it under hot tap water on one side, moving it so the water gets on every bit, it will start to curl, but quickly flip it over and run the hot water on the other side, it will uncurl. The rice sheet will be a little pliable now, just lay it down flat on the counter and do 2 or 3 more.
Now start with the ingredients;
If you are using prawns, lay them down first, it looks nice, if you are using chicken the ingredients can go down in any order.
The one on the left has the chicken and herbs, the one on the right has the rice noodles added. Treat this just like a burrito or wrap, too much and it’s gonna bust. I add the lettuce in the middle, but whatever, have fun, just get a nice bit of all the ingredients in the middle of the sheet, with some room at the ends.
When you try to fold the rice sheet over, as shown below, you will notice that the rice sheet is stuck to the counter, just peel it up gently, fold the bottom over the filling, and roll it back a bit to tighten it up. Then fold the ends in as shown below. This takes a bit of practice, if you tear it or it looks like shit, just cut it open and put the filling on the next rice paper. Don’t be tempted to oil or spray the counter, if the rice paper gets oil on it it will not stick together properly. If you happen to have a fresh washed cotton or linen sheet handy, put the rice sheets on that and it will not stick as much.
Now roll it up like a nice big doobie, remember the rice sheet will stick to anything, so be careful.
Repeat 10 times, and you’re done. This method is a lot of work, and a little tricky, but the results are worth it;
I can pull off the method in about 40 minutes, but I am the culinaryoverlord, and I make this once a week at least in the summer, so allow 1.5 hours. And yes, I am aware that it looks like a plate of albino cocks.
“11 hours at work today, why the hell am I even thinking of food?”