Saturday, May 2, 2009
Cathy's Famous Vietnamese Spring Rolls
My fabulous manicurist (and so much more!) Cathy surprised me the other day when I went to get my nails spruced up. She told me she had bought me all the ingredients I needed to make her Vietnamese spring rolls. Not only had she bought me the ingredients, she also wrote up the recipe, took these photos, and made up a batch of the dipping sauce!! She bought me an extra bottle of hoisin sauce, a bottle of Sriracha hot sauce, mint, cucumbers, bean sprouts, rice paper, and some nameless Asian greens to try, too. You'd think at that point that she could have offered to come over to my house and just make them, but I don't want to seem TOO demanding. Oh, and she also did a fantastic job as usual on my nails. She's amazing! Cathy even rolled up a sample roll for me right there at the salon so I could see how much of each ingredient was used. She did everything but type up this post!
CATHY'S FAMOUS VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS
SPRING ROLL SAUCE
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of Hoisin Sauce
1/2 cup of peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
2-3 tablespoons of white vinegar
Sriracha hot sauce to add on when eating (optional)
In a small saucepan add water, Hoisin sauce and peanut butter all at once. Over low heat, stir with a spoon until the peanut butter is nicely blended, then add the white vinegar. Turn off heat and set aside.
1/2 pound of boneless chicken thigh or 1/2 pound of Sirloin pork end
1/2 pound of bean sprouts (open the bag and drain and rinse well)
1 cucumber (cut both ends off of cucumber, clean & cut in half and then into 1/4" thin slices-- about 3" length)
1 bunch of green leaf lettuce
1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
1 package of Rice papers
(Other ideas include--noodles--Asian rice noodles, cilantro, carrots, and as mentioned below, shrimp)
NOTE: Cathy usually uses pork, but for those who don't like pork chicken works well too. I think shrimp would be good as well.
For pork: In a slow cooker add water and 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, 3 gloves of garlic and maybe 8-10 peppercorns. Slow cook for 20-30 minutes. When meat gets tender, remove from slow cooker and rinse with cold water, then set aside for 5-10 minutes to keep the moisture inside meat. Then slice thinly and set on a plate. You can also bake this in an oven til done.
For chicken: Marinate chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, bit of fresh ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder for about 15-30 minutes. You can grill your chicken or pan-fry your chicken. Cathy says "I like to pan-fry the chicken because this dish has a very clean taste so I don't mind pan-frying the chicken to keep the moisture and juice from the meat-- also when you pan-fry you can add on some fresh chopped garlic." Make sure the chicken is cooked well but not over-cooked, wait about 5-10 minutes after cooking for the meat to cool down, then slice 1/2" thick and set aside.
ROLLING SPRING ROLLS
In a big mixing bowl add warm water from the faucet to dip rice paper. Dip rice paper in water and then set on a big plate. On rice paper about 2" away from the edge of the rice paper--put 1/2 of a lettuce leaf or a little less, a few bean sprouts, a cucumber slice, 2 pieces of thin-sliced pork (or chicken or shrimp) and 2-3 leaves of fresh mint, (place all ingredients on top of each other and about 2" away from the edge of rice paper).
Now fold both sides of rice paper toward the center and try to cover the food, then start to roll as tightly as possible. Try not to have the rice paper dry out, it will stick to the plate. To help your work go faster use 2 plates for the rice paper while working on one and the other one has time to get soft and dry. Do not put your Spring Rolls on top or too close to each other, because rolls will be sticky and break when pull apart. Cathy usually uses clear plastic wrap to keep the rolls from drying out and sticking to each other.
Serve with dipping sauce and hot sauce on the side.
Cathy says "Have Fun Making Your Spring Rolls......!"
UPDATE: We made these spring rolls tonight using bean sprouts, lettuce, mint, cellophane noodles, cucumber, and shrimp. They were great! I mixed a LITTLE bit of the Sriracha sauce into the dipping sauce and it really cleaned out my sinuses--that stuff is HOT! Thank you Cathy!