On a random weekday, I decided that I was in the mood to make a Vietnamese feast for dinner! Salad rolls and chicken satay sounded yummy. So I set out to buy the bajillion ingredients that these two recipes required. Note: If you don’t want to buy an insane amount of groceries, or dirty a lot of dishes, I strongly recommend you don’t cook this! It was so much fun to cook, but you need to not mind the long grocery list and full dishwasher!! I’m posting the chicken satay recipe in another post.
Salad rolls are perfect for hot weather. I got the recipe from here. Start off by boiling your prawns till just cooked, and cooking a basic omelette. You want to cook the 4 eggs on low heat and leave them untouched until you flip them over sort of like a pancake. This will make it easy to cut them into slices (you don’t want scrambled eggs in the spring rolls). Start making your dipping sauce. You’ll need hoisin sauce, natural peanut butter, some water, and chili. Throw everything into a saucepan and stir until combined.
While all the cooking is happening, prepare the raw ingredients. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the stovetop though! Especially if you’re simultaneously making chicken satay at the same time like I was! You’re going to have about 4 different burners cooking different things at different rates, so get ready to multitask! Things will get a bit chaotic, but let’s be honest, that was kind of part of the fun, and you can feel pro when you’re wheeling around, stirring the hoisin sauce in saucepan #1, peeling the carrots, draining the prawns from saucepan #2, picking the mint leaves, flipping the omelette in saucepan #3 and tasting the satay in saucepan #4. Soak the bean sprouts in cold water so that they’re crunchy when you’re ready to use them, prepare the mint and cilantro leaves, slice the carrot and cucumber into well, slices. I thought that all these ingredients would be enough to fill the spring roll without the addition of vermicelli, but you can add it if you want. By this time, the prawns should be done, so drain them, rinse with cold water, and pull off the tails if needed. Your omelette should also be ready to slice up.
Now we can assemble! Cover a chopping board with a kitchen towel (unlike the pic, where I forgot to use the towel, and the rice paper wraps stuck to the board). Soak the rice paper wrap in room temperature water for a few seconds and place onto the towel-covered chopping board. The wrap should feel a tiny bit stiff, but don’t worry, the water will continue to soak, and it’ll get softer as you assemble the wrap. I started with 3 prawns about 1 inch from the side of the wrap, then piled it up with everything else. Fold the two sides of the wrap that will cover the ends of the salad roll. Then start wrapping from the 1-inch side. Don’t forget to tuck the stuff in tightly as you roll. Now, this is easier said than done, and it was my first time making salad rolls. Needless to say, my first few attempts (okay, first many attempts) were so sad. My salad rolls weren’t tightly rolled, my fillings were tumbling around the inside of the loose roll, and they looked quite flaccid. But as I continued to make more, my technique got better, and I started successfully tucking the ingredients in tightly while I rolled. I also found that it helped to not make the roll too long. Elsewise the “ends” of the salad roll will come loose.
This was definitely one of the yummiest things I’ve made in a while! It was a fun challenge to learn how to wrap the rolls, and they were perfect for a summer dinner!!! Great for a fun date too, unless you or your partner are impatient and neurotic, in which case this would likely be a bad idea.