Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rice Paper Rolls

After our delicious Thai Peanut salad experience yesterday, I was looking for a way to use up the extra peanut sauce. Luckily, the Whitewater Cooks cookbook offers a recipe for rice paper rolls that uses that same peanut sauce as a dipping sauce. I had been wanting to try to make this kind of spring roll for a while now, so I took the opportunity to make some up!

The rice paper wrapper itself was quite difficult to work with. It's springy and stretchy and rips easily. It took a few tries, but my expert fajita-rolling skillz perfected at McDonalds really came in handy tonight and I think I finally got it by the last one. I think this is pretty much the perfect summer dinner.

Makes 12 rolls, a light lunch for 4 people or enough for 2 hungry people with leftovers


-- 1/2 batch Thai Peanut Dressing (from this recipe)
-- 12 12-inch rice paper wrappers, plus a few more for casualties (the package I got looked like kind of like this)
-- 100 grams (approx. 4 ounces) rice or bean vermicelli (or other thin noodle)
-- 1 package medium firm tofu, julienned
-- spicy sambal olek sauce, 2 T. or to taste (I like things really spicy, you should use as much or little of this sauce as you like)

Vegetable mixture:
-- 2 carrots, juilenned
-- 1 red bell pepper, juilenned
-- 2 cups bean sprouts
-- 1 cucumber, juilenned
-- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
-- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
-- 1/2 to 1 cup mint, chopped
-- salt


1) Combine ingredients for vegetable mixture in bowl, salt a little.

2) Soak vermicelli in boiling water for 3-4 minutes or until tender to your liking. Drain and rinse with cold water, chop roughly, and keep handy.

3) Cover your wrapping area with a towel so the rice paper doesn't stick to it.

4) OK here is the difficult part -- the rice wrapper! Get a shallow container such as a lasagne pan out and fill it with boiling water. Let it cool a bit. Soak one rice wrapper in hot water for 10 - 15 seconds or until it becomes pliable. Carefully lift the rice paper roll out and lay it flat on the towel.

5) Lay some tofu and vermicelli in a horizontal 5-inch strip right in the middle of the wrapper. Drizzle on approx. 1 tablespoon of peanut dressing and 1 teaspoon of sambal sauce (if you like things spicy!) Add a big handful of the vegetable mixture.

6) Time to wrap! This is hard to describe without pictures, but the way to do it is to wrap the sides of the wrapper over the filling mound, then take the bottom of the wrapper, wrap it as tightly as you dare over the filling mound, tuck it in, and then carefully, roll, roll, roll, the rest of it up. This takes some practice as if your roll is too loose, everything will fall out, if it is too tight, the wrapper will rip.  (this video shows how to do it, producing smaller rolls though)

7) Serve with additional peanut sauce and/or sambal for dipping.

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