We had one of my favourite meals this week and I took pictures so I could share it with you. I think this would be an a excellent meal to have, if the ingredients were on hand, for over the holidays. That way, if you tire of rich, sugary, and fatty foods, you will have a refreshing and healthy option. Stev and I were introduced to this fun, healthy dinner by our great friends Suzanne and Bernie who own and operate the Victoria Rose Inn , in Gananoque. Suzanne and Bernie lived in Ottawa before they bought the Victoria Rose Inn and while living there, discovered a Vietnamese restaurant that offered this meal for take out. One night, several years ago, they brought this take out meal (from New Mee Fung, 350 Booth St., Ottawa) to our then home, in Gananoque and a new favourite supper was born.
Vietnamese Salad Rolls are fun, fresh tasting and easier than you think to make. You basically take fresh herbs, vegetables, rice noodles and meat or shrimp or tofu and wrap them up in a sheet of softened rice paper. Hoisin, sambal, and fish sauce are used for seasoning and dipping.
To start, here's what you need to have: thin rice vermicelli noodles, rice paper sheets (they are thin and round and come in two sizes, we use Rose Brand), Hoisin Sauce (Asian Ketchup), Sambal Oelek (fresh ground chilli paste), and fish sauce (recipe below).
You can use any fresh herbs you like, however, we used basil leaves, coriander leaves, and mint leaves. The herbs add a significant liveliness to the taste, so they are definetly worth getting. Don't worry if you only have one or two of these on hand, you can still make the salad rolls.
Julienne (match size cut) fresh vegetables. We used yellow and red peppers and cucumbers. Bean sprouts are good too, but we didn't have any.
Grill/cook the meat or seafood. You can use chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or any meat/seafood/tofu you like. Once cooked, thinly slice. Stev and I shared one chicken breast and we cooked another for the kids.
Add the rice vermicelli noodles in a small pot of boiling water. Stir often and boil for 2 minutes. Then drain and rinse in cold water.
Fish Sauce Recipe
We make ours in a measuring cup.
-1/3 cup lime juice (approx. 2 limes)
-1/3 cup fish sauce (we like Lucky Brand)
-1/3 cup water
-1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
-1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Thai chilli, or more to taste.
Stir all ingredients together. It will taste pungent and strong and mabey a bit weird if you haven't had it before, but don't worry it works as a dipping sauce for the rolls.
Make a platter with the washed and dried fresh herbs, julienned vegetables, cooked rice noodles, and sliced cooked meat/seafood/tofu.
Put the platter on the table with individual dishes of fish sauce, and have some Sambal and Hoisin sauce on the table as well.
Take a pie plate of warm water to the table and the rice paper wrappers.
Dip the rice paper wrapper in the warm water for approximately 30 seconds. Remove when it is slightly softened but not limp, and lay flat on a plate.
Once you have selected the filling for your salad roll, roll it up.
This is is the finished Vietnamese Salad Roll.
I shop at the Asian Market at 354 Princess Street in Kingston. This store has all the ingredients I've mentioned, including the fresh herbs and chillies.
When we had these salad rolls this week, I also cooked some rice in the rice cooker. Olivia, our daughter, had rice, chicken and soy sauce wrapped up in her rice paper roll. Our son Harry asked me to take a picture of his dinner. He food styled this picture himself, so I'll leave you with this lovely picture of his nutritious dinner.