Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gỏi cuốn - Remodeled

Gỏi cuốn (Fresh Spring Rolls) are one of my favorite Vietnamese treats.  My only problem with them is that they are commonly laden with slices of fatty roast pork and shrimp.  As I'm on a current mission to cut most sentient beings out of my diet, I have taken to making them at home. So, here is a vegetarian Gỏi cuốn recipe for you.
Start by gathering your ingredients.  You'll need rice paper, vermicelli noodles (called rice sticks in the States, I buy them pre-soaked here, but it's easy to do at home), and vegetables for your filling.
I like to get my filling ready first.  I have used a variety of ingredients in the past, but I tend to like my spring rolls basic, so my favorites are lettuce, noodles, firm tofu and cabbage.
Slice the tofu into strips and brown them in a pan with a bit of oil.
Add purple cabbage to the hot pan and cook until the cabbage is pliable.
While the tofu and cabbage are cooking, wash and cut the lettuce and prepare your noodles.  Also, have a small bowl of clean water ready for moistening the rice paper.
Once your tofu has cooled off, you're ready to start making your rolls.  Start by freeing some rice paper from their packaging.  Be sure to do this with dry hands, otherwise they will start to soften and disaster will strike.
Start by taking a full sheet of rice paper and wet it using your hands and a cup of water.  You can also use a spray bottle if you have one on hand.  You don't want to drown them in water, just moisten and bathe these delicate subjects. 
Next make a pile of your filling on the moistened rice paper.
Fold and roll the rice paper, which should be soft and sticky by now, like you would with a burrito.  Stack your rolls into a nice little pile and claim victory by shouting to the heavens.
Some variations I have tried include carrots, cucumbers, red bell peppers, really anything to give your rolls a little crunch.
Sauces are of course needed for dipping.  I like to use Thai sweet chili sauce (mix in a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter for a delicious treat.)
Hoison sauce is also a fine accompaniment.  However, just a bit of soy sauce with some sliced hot peppers will do the trick in a bind.
Dip, eat, and repeat.


Carol said...

You make it look so easy!

Isis said...

Nellie -
Thanks for the recipe. I too am on a diet. I've gained four lbs. since last February. (I just went to the dr. And I was 118 instead of 114.)

Your Mom is right, you make it look so easy !! But also tofu is VERY HIGH in Estrogen - I've been meaning to eat more, it's so so very good for your skin. Thank you so much !!!

You also reminded me of a girlfriend in Austin way back who "threw a party" but gave everyone A List of what to buy. This was stated in a very - shall we say "Dictatorial Manner". I was given "Vietnamese Springrolls". Cost $85. She wanted 4 dozen, which I bought cuz I'm nice. Great Party - for her ! Hahaha. Sometimes Texas makes me laugh. Too bad I didn't have your recipe or think to make them myself, it looks really fun !

I'm gonna try them, lots of Asian Markets in SF!! Xox

Isis said...

Ps: I just remembered she told me which restaurant to buy them at !!! Hahaha !!!