Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vietnamese Summer Roll

This week I'm participating in a fun challenge called Eating Down the Fridge. It's a week of preparing meals with things that you already have on hand, no grocery shopping. I am so down with this because I hate when things go to waste in the fridge and I hate grocery shopping. Well, I enjoy going to the Farmer's Market but I strongly dislike going to the grocery store so I was really looking forward to this. Yesterday was my first day and I stir fried some soba noodles with fried tofu, napa cabbage, cilantro and red peppers. It was good, simple and healthy. Can't go wrong with that. Today I made my favorite Vietnamese Summer Rolls. They are my favorite way to enjoy salad because I have a confession. I don't really like salad.

There I said it, I don't. I make myself eat it on a regular basis but trust me, it's not on my list of things I would eat if I didn't have to. Oh sure, there's the occasional time I actually enjoy salad but those times usually include some kind of creamy dressing or bacon or cheese (most likely all at the same time) but that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Well, my not-so-secret anymore distaste for salad days are over thanks to the Vietnamese Summer Roll. Basically what we're talking about here is salad in a roll. Made many different ways, the Salad Roll is essentially julienned vegetables, fresh herbs, sometimes shrimp, chicken or pork, all wrapped in rice paper. These are so delicious that in the past few weeks I have eaten one for lunch and as a starter for my dinner almost every day. I am crazy for these rolls. They are so good that I feel guilty eating them, like I'm indulging in something I shouldn't be. That is my idea of a good salad.

So, day 2 on the Eating Down the Fridge challenge has been a success. I have no idea what tomorrow will hold. Stay tuned...

Here is where you get to be creative and basically use what you have on hand. You will need rice paper (found in any Asian market) and cooked rice noodles. In addition to those try any combination of vegetables such as: julienned carrots, peppers, mushrooms, bean sprouts, cucumber, radish, lettuce. And then any fresh herbs you have: cilantro, basil, etc. For a roll that is a little more hearty you can add cooked shrimp, chicken, pork or tofu.

Click here to see a short, simple video of how to make the actual rolls. It's difficult to explain. I was even confusing myself by trying. And no, the headless wonder in the video is not me :)

I like to serve these rolls with a dipping sauce from A Girl, a Market, a Meal:
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
1-2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl mash the peanut butter and hoisin sauce together with a fork. Mix in the rice vinegar and chili paste. Add a tablespoon or 2 of water to get your desired consistency.


Kristina Johnson said...

I love the idea of "eating down the fridge"! Those spring rolls look cool and lovely and perfect for summer. I've made them before, but it's been a while. I'm going to have to try them again. But first, I'll be eating them at the source (Vietnam) coming soon! :-)

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I love these as well. Fresh basil is a must!
I'll give your dip a try~ it looks good.

The Veggie Queen said...

Great post. I am doing eating down the fridge, too. Unlike you, I love salad and eat it daily with joy and gusto. But when doing EDF, it's hard to stock up on enough greens to make it through the week.

I love the creativity of EDF and didn't do much planning. Every day has been an adventure, and that's just how I like it.

BTW, I love eating these rolls and have a recipe in my cookbook The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment for them but don't make them at home often enough -- just for classes. Silly me.

This was a great reminder to just make them.

We Are Not Martha said...

Ooooh, I really, really want to make these. So pretty and delicious too! I am trying to eat down my fridge too. I really need a fresh, clean start!


~Madeline~ said...

Thanks Krisitna! I am really loving this challenge. These rolls are perfect for summer. Can't wait to hear all about your amazing trip, so jealous!

Oh yes, Sandi, basil a great addition. My favorite is the cilantro. I go crazy for cilantro!

Thanks Veggie Queen. I envy your natural love for salad. Hope you're having fun with EDF!

Hey Sues, I totally agree, especially after all of the hoarding I seem to have done throughout the winter! Time to make some room for freshness :)

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