I can’t believe this month is almost over. It’s sad that time moves so quickly and also that Vietnam month is nearly done. This has been a healthy month of fresh veggies, herbs and light dishes.
This is exactly how I felt when I was in Vietnam – though there was rarely an hour that went by where I didn’t have food in my mouth, I felt energized and light the entire time. I think I even lost weight that week, which IDK how that’s possible with the sheer volume of crepes, rolls and soup entering my face.
But the month is not over yet.
And today’s recipe is so.GD.good. I made these as an appetizer for dinner last Saturday but they could easily become a meal on their own.
It’s exactly one of those dishes I’m talking about – the ingredients are fresh and you feel energized after eating. The way eating should be, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a giant bowl of pasta every now and then, but we can’t schedule naps after every meal.
I pulled this recipe from Vietnamese Home Cooking and if I haven’t made it clear, I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. I’ve loved every recipe in here.
The original calls for pork in place of tofu but I like tofu and I don’t really like pork.
Perhaps the best and most unique thing about this recipe is the homemade mayo IN THE ROLL. If you’re a rockstar you can make this with shallot oil and it will be heaven in your mouth.
These are pretty easy to make, though the key is setting up your workstation before you get going on your rolls. It makes the whole process go so much quicker/smoother.
If you’re confused on how to roll the spring rolls, sorry, I’m terrible at taking pictures of recipes-in-progress but there are a million youtube videos that will show you how.
Also included below is a recipe for peanut sauce. It seems like there are a ton of ingredients in it, but you literally just throw everything in a blender so it will take you no time at all. I served these with peanut sauce, leftover mayo and flavored fish sauce because I like choices.
They are so pretty and impressive looking. You can do this!
Spring Rolls and Peanut Sauce
(start making 40 minutes before you want spring rolls)
*You may not find sweet rice at regular grocery stores, and I haven’t tried this with regular. Sweet rice is glutinous and therefore creates the right consistency in this sauce. You might be able to cook jasmine or sushi rice with a pinch of salt to get a similar consistency.
Start by making your sweet rice. Add two cups of water, and one cup of rice to a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to low for 15 minutes until fully cooked. Let this come to room temp.
Then, add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, including the rice. Blend until smooth.
Now, make the spring rolls.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice your tofu into 1/4-inch pieces and lay on a pan lined with parchment. Brush tablespoon of sesame oil over the tofu and bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned.
In the meantime, cook the rice vermicelli according to the package and set them aside.
Make your mayo with your egg yolk and oil. Wrap a towel around itself and place the bowl in the center so you can whisk without using your hands to hold the bowl. Whisk the egg yolk and VERY SLOWLY start to add the oil, drop by drop. Your mixture will be very thick and if you add the oil too quickly, the mayo will get runny and break.
Eventually you’ll add all your oil to the mayo, ending with a thick mixture and very strong forearms.
Heat up a pot of water on the stove, and boil the shrimp for a few minutes until cooked and pink. If you’re using medium shrimp, you’ll slice these in half lengthwise, so you end up with 30 pieces.
Set up a workstation, where you’ve laid out parchment paper on a countertop. Place a bowl next to you with your shrimp, a bowl with your mint leaves, and a bowl with your mayo.
In a large bowl with very hot water, you’ll take a rice paper sheet and soak it for about 3-5 seconds. You just want this to be pliable.
Lay the sheet out on your parchment and place a lettuce leaf in the lower half of the circle. Spread a generous teaspoon of mayo on the leaf and top with a couple pieces of tofu and a few mint leaves. Just above the red leaf lettuce, lay out three pieces of shrimp so they are laying on the rice paper directly.
Starting at the bottom of your rice paper, fold it over your mixture in the bottom half of the circle, fold both sides towards the center, about an inch (kind of like you’re wrapping a present) then continue rolling the bottom towards the top.
Cut each in half to get 20 total halves. Dunk in peanut sauce.
PS. I ended up with a lot of peanut sauce leftover. I turned this into a stir fry sauce and mixed with veggies and rice noodles. Or you could just make another batch of spring rolls…