January 7th, 2009 by Jihye Chang
This is, along with my spicy tuna sushi, the crowd-pleaser, and the most popular dish among all the things I can cook.
So many people have asked the recipe for these – and here’s my little secret.
Vietnamese Rice Papers: look for two roses on the package. That’s the best kind, my Vietnamese student once told me. Prepare a big bowl filled with hot-warm water that you can put your hands in.
Rice Stick: get a very thin kind. Not the kind you would use for Pad-Thai. Soak in warm water for about 20 minutes and then boil quickly in hot water for 30 seconds and then drain.
Extra Firm Tofu: I always use organic tofu. Place the tofu on a flat surface and put a cutting board on top of the tofu. Put a heavy object on top of the cutting board so that water can be squeezed out. After doing that, wipe out the water with some kitchen towel. Cut into sticks – about your pinky size. Put enough oil (canola or vegetable) on a non-stick pan and fry the tofu until golden and crisp. This takes a while, so don’t be hasty or flip the tofu around too often.
Avocado: Cut it in slices, about the same size as the tofu sticks.
Cilantro leaves, Chopped green onion (green parts only), and Shredded cabbage (you can get it in a bag)
I have made these rolls with boiled and sliced shrimps and some pork, like at a lot of Vietnamese restaurants, but this one is much more popular and it is vegetarian!
1) Simple kind: Mae Ploy brand sweet chile sauce + some freshly squeezed lemon juice – not spicy and vegetarian.
2) Spicy kind: 4 TB Mae Ploy brand sweet chile sauce + 1 TB Vietnamese chile garlic sauce (with green cap) + 0.5 TB or more Tiparos brand fish sauce (Golden Boy brand is good, too) + 0.5 TB or more sugar + 0.5 TB or more freshly squeezed lime juice. Mix well and taste – then put some more sugar, fish sauce, or lime juice according to your taste.
How to Make:
Prepare all the ingredients/ lay them out on a large, flat surface. I use a large cutting board as the “wrapping station.”
Soak the rice paper in the hot-warm water until it is pliable. This takes some practice – so expect to ruin a few papers before you get the right consistency without tearing.
Put the paper on the cutting board/ arrange all the ingredients on the paper. (Put only one stick of tofu and avocado per one roll.) Use the front part of the rice paper, and don’t put too much. This also takes some practice.
Pull the ingredients toward you and then flip it. Fold the left and the right side to the center. Roll it to close. (See the picture)
Serve them with the sauce and enjoy!
* Don’t make these rolls too early. They can become very sticky and dry.