The past two weeks have been quite hectic for me. A new semester started and is already in full spin. On top of studies, I have to start applying for clerkships and internships by next week. Basically, I’ve been home one night since. All this combined to the lack of a kitchen resulted in no posts.
But I’m back. We celebrated the boyfriend’s birthday yesterday. We had first planned on making a batch of root beer but apparently root beer extract does not exist in Montreal (if you know a place, tell me!). We still wanted to have a fun time cooking together so we headed to the Asian supermarket and stocked up on supplies to make spring rolls. I had never worked with rice paper before but the method happened to be pretty straightforward. The first few were pretty loose and not so visually appealing but we quickly got the trick.
Spring rolls are great because you can make them with whatever you have on hand. We came back from the market with enoki mushrooms, shrimp, white basil and Napa cabbage. Add that to the leftover pork fillet and you have colorful and tasty rolls. Really, what you are looking for is crispy and fresh ingredients.
I’ve always had trouble cooking my vermicelli jut right. It’s either undercooked or very mushy and sticky. I though I had tried everything but I finally fond the right way to do it. I had no idea it would be so simple. You just let it sit in cold/lukewarm water for a little under an hour! It was perfect.
Spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
Makes : 24 rolls
- 24 sheets of spring roll rice paper
- 500g bag of vermicelli
- 24 large shrimps, cooked, sliced in half
- 1lb pork fillet, cooked, finely sliced
- White basil Enoki mushrooms
- Napa cabbage, chopped
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp organic peanut butter
- 1 tbsp cornstarch, if necessary
- 1/3 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Put vermicelli in a large bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Sit for around 45 minutes. Drain.
To soften the sheets of rice paper, fill a pie plate with 2 inches of cold water. Put the sheet of rice paper in the water for around 1 minute (don’t leave to long or they will break). Work one sheet at a time.
Transfer the rice paper on a large plate. Take a handful of vermicelli and place it in the middle of your sheet. Try to form a rectangular shape. Top the vermicelli with a few pieces of Napa cabbage, a few mushrooms, 2 or 3 basil leaves, and a slice of pork. Fold left and right sides over. Fold the bottom side. Place 2 shrimp halves over the folded-over bottom side. Roll tightly. Repeat for remaining rolls.
To make peanut dipping sauce, bring water, sugar, rice vinegar and hoisin sauce to a boil. Add peanut butter and stir till smooth. If sauce is not thick enough, dilute cornstarch with 1 tsp water and gradually add to the sauce, till desired thickness. Remove from heat and let cool. Add the chopped peanuts before serving.