Vietnamese spring rolls/Gỏi cuốn
I have an unspoken resentment towards raw vegetables. It could be the pain of chewing them like a cow or the inpatients to break down all those hard cellulose. Come on, cooking was invented for a purpose!
Mom always used a threatening unkind eye expression to make me eat my veggies…so I had to pretend to be agreeable by chewing them reading a book or drowning it over a radio voice! When it was my turn to be a mother, I was forced to instil good eating habits in my kids but…I flunked miserably! It was really lucky for them to have a father as a role model at their table. Our kitchen was overflowing with fruits and veggies and he even chopped fruits and laid them on the counter in an effort to tempt us. My daughter took to it like a fish to water, but my son secretly followed me with his sweet tooth.
Up until now, I cheat myself to eat veggies and fruits and disappoint myself. I know simple food is always the best! Inevitably, vegetables are epitomes of health, vigor, longevity and sanity! But I am hopeless! My only comfort is cocoa being a plant!
As eating vegetables on its own is a tough choice for me, this salad wrap is an attractive alternative. Colours of goodness wrapped in rice paper with its fancy appearance does the trick! The transparent skin is kind of sexy and vegetables chopped into thin strips make it pleasing to the eyes.
- few Vietnamese rice-paper wrappers
- warm water for soaking the rice-paper
- ¼ cup julienned red bell pepper
- ½ cup julienned green bell pepper
- ½ cup julienned carrots
- few french beans
- 8-10 mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked rice noodles
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds
- salt & pepper
- few cilantro leaves
- Julienne carrots using a julienne blade on a mandolin.
- Cut peppers into long thin pieces.
- Submerge french beans in water and blanch them in a microwave for a minute.
- Remove the beans and slice them thinly.
- Add whole mushrooms to the same water with salt and pepper and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
- Remove them, cool and slice them.
- Take a rice paper wrapper and plunge it in a flat bowl of warm water.
- Remove it gently when it softens and spread it on a clean kitchen towel to drain excess water.
- Transfer the soaked rice-paper wrapper on to a chopping board and sprinkle some cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.
- Place the cut vegetables and rice noodles in the center leaving space on top and bottom.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to season.
- Fold the top and bottom of wrapper on to the filling and roll.
- Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp ground peanut
- salt and pepper
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Add ground peanut on top and serve it as a dipping sauce.
Dip the rolls in sauce while eating. The crunch of the vegetables and the soft wrapping with the cheerful taste of the sauce is worth a try. It can be cut into half at an angle as individual pieces and displayed on a platter for guests.
If you are not a fan of rice noodles it can be deleted completely. To make the noodles more appealing, toss it in a mixture of sesame oil, salt and white wine vinegar before bundling it with the vegetables.
These fresh rolls are very popular in Canada. I do like them as an appetizer when I visit Vietnamese restaurants. This is a compact salad, easy to handle.