One of the typically Asian things that I love is their rice rolls. But it can be confusing – how are these lovely rice rolls used?
Rice rolls are very common in Vietnam (Banh Cuon) and in Thailand (Goi tiew lohd). It is a light dish, and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam, or as a snack in Thailand. In our house, this dish is a wonderful summery lunch.
In Vietnamese Bánh means pastry and Cuốn means rolled, so as far as indicating its origin or how to use them, the name is quite enigmatic. The rice sheet is extremely thin and delicate. It is made by steaming a slightly fermented rice batter on a cloth that is stretched over a pot of boiling water.
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When you buy rice rolls, look for the plain ones if you are vegetarian – you may encounter ones that include dried prawns. Locally, a maker makes ones that have the wonderful colours of chives and grated vegetables in the rolls.
My method is to steam them until heated through, to topped the warm rolls with chopped herbs and veggies, and serve them with a sauce. Play with your own favourite sauces and include other Asian style toppings.
Rice Rolls With Crunchy Vegetables and Dipping Sauce
Source: My own recipe
Cuisine: Asian – Chinese and Vietnamese
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Serves: 6 or more people
Wok or large saucepan
250g packet of Rice Rolls
Sesame oil – just a tspn or 2
Hoisin Sauce or a light soy
Hua Tiao Chiew (a Chinese rice cooking wine) or Chinese black vinegar
Sweet chilli sauce
green coriander, chopped
Chinese chives, chopped
grated diakon (white) radish
spring (green) onions, sliced
Chinese dried Woodear Mushrooms, soaked for 10 minutes and then sliced (optional)
crispy fried garlic
1 Tblspn salty Chinese cabbage, optional
pressed tofu or five spice tofu, cut into small cubes (available in Asian markets), optional
Boil some water in the bottom of a wok or deep pan. Place the rolls on a plate inside the steamer and cover with the steamer lid. Place the steamer with the rolls into the wok or pan, ensuring it sits over the boiling water. Steam for 5 minutes or until they are warmed through and silky shiny.
Meanwhile, combine the soy, sesame oil, Hua Tiao Chiew and sweet chilli sauce, mixing the quantities to suit your taste.
When the noodles are done, divide them between plates, sprinkle the different chopped herbs, bean sprouts, vegetables and tofu over the rolls. Season with a little black or white pepper. Spoon the sauce over them, and serve.
If you like you can heat a little sesame oil, just a Tblspn or so, and pour the hot oil over the top of the rolls and toppings before you add the sauce. In this case, there is no need to add extra sesame oil to the sauce.
You can eat them alone, but if you wanted more, a lovely Asian salad would work well. Throw any left over herbs into the salad.
recipe notes and alternatives
Any dipping sauce can be used with the noodles. Have a look at some of ours. Or another quick one can be made by combining Chilli paste, soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. Heat until the sugar dissolves.