When I was a pre-teen visiting my family in Vancouver, I liked to visit the food at Granville Island. This goes to show that my idea of a good time has not changed all that much in 25 years. I still go to look at food markets in whatever city I visit. ANYWAY at twelve years of age I regularly struggled with the following big dilema…should I have ravioli with meat sauce and chinotto (a delicious cola that is flavoured with a hint of bitter orange) from the Italian food stall OR should I get one of those wierdly delicious salad rolls from the sushi stall. It was the 1980s, and I realize in retrospect that the owners of the sushi stall were almost certainly Vietnamese. I guess there was a market for Sushi but not not for Vietnamese food at that point. This was my first introduction to Vietnamese food, which has since become my favourite cuisine. Delicious marinated meat, fresh herbs in massive quantity, rice noodles, pickled vegetables and spicy, sweet, fishy sauces….YUM!
I make salad rolls (sometimes called summer rolls) quite often. This recipe is not authentic, it is just the recipe that I have come up with that suites my taste buds the best. Salad rolls can bear a lot of experimentation and I encourage you to try different things out until you find the salad roles that you like best!
This recipe will probably require a trip to an Asian supermarket (also my idea of a good time) to buy rice paper wrappers and chili sauce. You should also get your rice noodles and hoisin sauce there. Although these items are now available in most western grocery stores, they are WAY cheaper in an Asian Grocery. Sometimes when I am out of rice paper wrappers I just pile all of the ingredients into a lettuce leaf instead.
MY FAVOURITE SALAD ROLLS
- grated jicama
- grated carrot
- mint (lots of it! Imagine that it is lettuce!)
- basil (lots of this too!)
- 2 or 3 cooked, shelled, medium shrimp per roll (optional)
- crispy lettuce (optiona, I like butter lettuce)
- cooked, drained and cooled rice noodles (optional)
- seeded cucumber cut into long peices (optional)
- Rice paper wrappers
- boiling water
3. Fill a large shallow baking tray or platter with nearly boiling water.
4. Place a rice wrapper in the water, pushing it down so that it is totally submerged.
5. Allow the rice wrapper to soak for about a minute or until it just becomes soft
6. Carefully lift the rice wrapper onto a large plate or cutting board.
- crunchy peanut butter or chopped roasted peanuts
- hoisin sauce ( try to find a brand with no MSG)
- Sweet chili sauce or sambal oelek
- Sweetener (only needed if you used sambal instead of sweet chili sauce)
- rice vinegar (optional)
- minced garlic (optional)
- minced onion (optional)
- water (enough to achieve desired consistancy)