Another great way to use up left overs is to make rice paper rolls. They are a health fresh way to eat something on the go. I use to make them for work the night before, pack them in an airtight container and take them the next morning. They are also Gluten free, Diary free, Nut free (if you choose) egg free, and Vegetarian (depending on your choices).
In Vietnam they are called Gỏi cuốn which means summer roll or salad roll. All you need to make these delicious parcels is some salad, and some type of protein, along with the rice paper. They are getting quite expensive to buy now and I think it is easy and much cheaper to make them at home once you already have all the basic ingredients.
I have tried so many different types of rice paper rolls in my time and I have to tell you that it is better to go to your local Asian store and pick up a good quality version rather than an extra cheap version, they are stronger, hold together better and are easier to work with. This is the one I buy, but you still have to be careful 🙂
These Rice paper rolls are based on the best ones I have eaten which were in the food court of the St Ives Shopping Centre in Sydney. They use to make a batch every morning and by lunch time they would be sold out. I also think that it was their delicious home made hoisin sauce that made them twice as tasty. I once ask the owner (I’m sorry I can’t remember her name) what was the secret, she said “don’t put too many ingredients into the roll, too many ingredients and you can’t taste all the flavours” So this has always been my motto, as much salad as I can stuff in and one protein. I know there are a lot of people that add ingredients like avocado and teriyaki chicken, really, these are a Vietnamese traditional food, I’m not sure that anyone in Vietnam, put avocado or has even tasted teriyaki chicken!
So here is my rule of thumb for a great rice paper roll… Protein, herbs, vermicelli noodles, and crunch. That’s it, too easy! 🙂
This recipe makes as many as you like, until you run out of ingredients, This is also a great way, to get the kids involved in cooking as they can put what they like into the mix, it may get a little messy, but hey, that’s the fun of it! 🙂
Ingredients – Rolls
Carrots/Cucumber/lettuce (this is your crunch)
Mint/Coriander/Parsley (this is your herb component)
Protein (cooked chicken, prawns, beef, pork, tofu)
(OPTIONAL EXTRA) Hoisin dipping sauce – you can just buy a good quality Hoisin sauce from your asian market and add some water to make it thin enough to dip into, sprinkle on some peanuts and chilli if you like. The only draw back is that it contains wheat… so if you have allergies stay away and choose the favourite dipping sauce that you can eat!
Method – getting everything ready
1. Find a large flat container and fill with room temperature water, dip the rice paper sheet into the water then place on a plastic plate (don’t let it soak or you will have very wet rice paper). Place the next plate on top and repeat until you have run out of plates, then you have a stack of rice paper rolls ready to roll! I find that this is the best way to stop them sticking to one another and it allows them to dry out a little before use. You still need to be careful when pulling the plates apart as they may stick… if they do that, just make them one at a time, but the plastic plates work really well.
2. Place vermicelli noodles into a large bowl and place boiling water over the top of them and leave for about 10 minutes, drain, rinse in cold water and place in a container ready for use.
3. Thinly slice (julienne) the carrots, shred the lettuce and pick the leave off your herbs.
4. Get your protein ready, if it isn’t left overs, by cooking or sautéing with what ever flavours your like. I enjoy garlic and chilli, here it is just plain seemed chicken breast and a few prawns. Make sure the protein is cold when you put it onto the rice paper, this is why I mostly use left overs, already cooked.
Method – Putting it together.
1. Place your protein towards the top of the rice paper… if you are using prawns, cut them in half so they lay flat.
2. Add your herbs, anything you like really. I prefer the combination of mint and coriander.
3. Then add your noodles. You can get really pedantic and cut them to size as they roll up better, but it doesn’t worry me.
4. Then add your crunch. Be careful if you use carrots as they have a habit of poking through the rice paper. Lettuce and cucumber work just as well. I have used carrot and lettuce here. Lettuce should be an iceberg or cos, as they give better crunch!
5. OK… now for the roll, which is kind of the hardest part, but it is easier with the plastic plates. Pull the bottom over the contents of the plate.
6. Then fold in the sides as nice and tight as you can. (be careful of those carrots) 🙂
7. Then roll the whole thing tightly over.
8. Turn it over an you have the lovely protein, presented on the top.
9. Serve with your favourite sauce and eat! Here is a prawn one I made exactly the same way.
I hope you enjoy my version of this yummy roll and I hope that the step by step shows you how easy it really is!
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