Rice Paper Rollin’

I heard that the weather was BEAUTIFUL today. I only caught a few minutes of the sunshine walking from work to car (about 500 metres), and yes, the sunshine was perfect.

I was hungry as usual. Sunshine + hungry = rice paper rolls. What else?

I’ve probably mentioned before that Vietnamese is my favourite cuisine, so rice paper rolls always go down well. Only problem is I find them really time consuming, mainly because my knife skills leave a lot to be desired, so I usually only make them when other people are around to eat too. Lucky I have willing house mates.

There is a bit of an art to rollin’. Like sushi. First time you do it they will probably be a mess, don’t worry! I have been making these for ages and mine still look shocking. Who cares what they look like though, right?

So I went to get all my ingredients and find brown rice vermicelli noodles! Woo! I may be a little over-excited but this is totally new for me, so looking forward to trying them. Not a huge difference nutrition wise, which I was surprised about, though they are higher in dietary fibre (only slightly!). Protein, fat and carbohydrate are all pretty much equal in comparison to the regular white vermicelli. For all my gluten intolerant friends though, rice noodles are gluten free, happy days 🙂  If you are following this recipe and very sensitive to gluten, just watch out for the soy sauce!

verm

Two hours later –> they were ok. Just ok. I found them a little chewy and tough. You can’t notice it in the rice paper rolls because there is a lot of other stuff going on, but I think I would avoid using them in a soup or stir fry. I think I will stick to the regular white kind..I have only just converted to whole wheat pasta after all, baby steps..

Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls

1 x block firm tofu

1 x tsp oil

1 x TBS soy

1 x love garlic, minced

1 x inch piece of ginger, minced

1/4 x cup dried shitake or other dried asian fungus (soaked in hot water for 20 mins)

veg2

1 x carrot, thinly sliced into matchsticks

1 x cucumber, thinly slice into matchsticks

1 x capsicum, thinly sliced into matchsticks

1/2 x packet vermicelli rice noodles, soaked in hot water

rice paper roll sheets

ice burg lettuce, shredded

mint leaves

Dipping Sauce

1 x TBS hoisin

1 x tsp soy

1 x tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp chilli sauce

Heat oil in a fry pan and fry the ginger and garlic for one minute, then crumble in the tofu.

Cook until the tofu looks golden, about five minutes, then stir through the soy and soaked mushrooms and put to one side.

Cut up all your veggies. Make it as organised as possible to make rolling a little less annoying.

veg1

Get a bowl of warm water and dip in your first sheet of rice paper, lay it flat on a bench and wait for it to soften so it’s easier to work with.

Layer your ingredients at one end of the circle, veggie sticks, lettuce, noodles, mint and tofu mixture. Be careful not to fill it up too much!

Start rolling the side with the mixture, then wrap the top and bottom sides and tuck it all in.

(I apologise sincerely for this method, I never realised how hard it would be to describe how to roll a rice paper roll! )

rolls

I’m not going to lie, they probably won’t look neat and tidy, but they will taste amazing!

To make the sauce, just mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Dip away.

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I Heart Vietnam

You know the awkward ice breaker questions that you have on a first date? … ‘What’s your favourite food?’ always tends to come up.

I dread it. It just opens up a can of worms.

I’m hopeless when it comes to picking just one. So now I just go by cuisine, which makes it marginally easier. At the moment it’s Vietnamese. Not that I have ever been to Vietnam so my concept of the Vietnamese cuisine could be way off, but I trust that Swan Street, Richmond is doing something right so I’ll go with my gut instinct.

Eating out as a vegetarian or vegan can be a bit tricky when it comes to Vietnamese because of the fish sauce, so I tend to make it a lot at home. Also a restaurant down the road that I used to work at does a lot of Vietnamese stuff, and I still like to think I have a bit of influence around there so I am allowed to be that pain in the ass customer and make super annoying requests to my order which is handy 😀

I found a vegetarian fish sauce the other day when I was at Vincent’s Vegetarian in Footscray (last I checked they also have a little stall at the Prahran market). If you ever need a vegetarian substitute for ANYTHING, go here. Literally anything. Ribs, prawns, duck, beef jerky (see below), they got it. So the fish sauce doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing but it gets shit done. And that’s all I ever ask for ya know?

vegan jerky

From a nutrition standpoint -> awesome option for take away. Lower in fat that Thai because of the lack of coconut milk, and a lot less oil and sodium than Chinese. Lots of fresh veg and herbs for flavour, although if you’re eating out the dressings tend to be quite high in sugar and salt so keep that in mind. But if you’re cooking at home, use coriander, chilli and lime juice instead.

I think Vietnamese is best to make when you’re cooking for a group of people. Because who wants to spend an hour rolling rice paper rolls when you’re the only one eating them? My beautiful housemate made an amazing banquet the other day with rice paper rolls, Banh Xeo (crispy pancakes) and noodle bowls. Delish.

banquet

 

Today I did something new and made Dao Hu Sot Ca. Yeah I dunno either. But it’s crispy tofu with tomato sauce. To be honest I’m not sure if it came out right because I’ve never done it before. But it’s tasty so all goooood.

Recipe adapted from Hungry Huy.

 

photo

Crispy Tofu with Tomato Sauce

Serves one. Because I am destined to be alone forever.

 

1/2 block of firm tofu (about 150g) (and make sure it’s firm not silken!)

1 tbs of coconut oil

2 ripe tomatoes
1 green capsicum
1 red chilli
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp [vegetarian] fish sauce
Coriander for garnish

Heat oil in a pan until you can see little bubbles
Slice up the tofu into cubes and place in the pan, it should sizzle, if not the oil isn’t hot enough
Let the tofu brown on each side until crispy

Chop up tomatoes
Slice capsicum and chilli finely
Place into a sauce pan with water, sugar, salt, and fish sauce and bring to the boil
Add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thicken
Serve with lots of coriander