Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vietnamese Fresh Shrimp and Pork Salad Rolls

Spring has finally sprung with warmer days ahead of us. Vietnamese shrimp and pork rolls is a great way to welcome spring with its chock full of fresh herbs to get back in the mood of fresh lighter eating at the table.

Wash all the vegetables and herbs such as bean sprouts, green lettuce leaves, and fresh herbs- Chinese chives, Vietnamese cilantro (rau ram), Thai basil and peppermint. Remove the herbs from their stems and place in a paper towel; wring to remove excess water. Cut half a cucumber into thin strips.

Peel thawed shrimps into a bowl and add 1 tsp. table salt. Mix thoroughly and let rest for five minutes. This will draw out the impurities. Rinse and drain well.

Place a 1.5 lb. pork shoulder, cut in half in a pot with enough water to cover. Boil and add two kaffir lime leaves, 1 tsp. minced lemongrass and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover with lid and cook for 30 minutes. 

4) Soak 1/2 package (375 g) rice vermicelli in a basin of water for 20 minutes to soften. Bring skillet with water to boil and add the vermicelli; cook for ten minutes, stir occasionally then drain. Dry skillet, then heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil with 1 Tbsp. each chopped green onions and fried onions and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the vermicelli and stir until noodles are coated for two minutes. Remove onto serving plate.

Remove cooked pork from pot; let cool five minutes before slicing into two bite-size thin slices. Bring water back to boil; add shrimps and cook for two minutes; remove with large slotted spoon.

Make two dipping sauces: 
1) peanut-hoisin sauce: Mix 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce. Mix 1 Tbsp. water to smooth and thin out. 
2) seasoned fish dipping sauce (Nước mắm cham) (Makes 3/4 cup)

i) Dissolve 1/4 cup granulated sugar in 1/3 cup boiling water;
ii) Mix in 2 Tbsp. fish sauce and 2-3 Tbsp. white vinegar and leave to cool;
iii) To season, add 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and Vietnamese chili sauce to taste. Refrigerate until serve.

OR: Instead of pork shoulder, make it easy by using Chinese roasted pork from the prepared deli meat counter or restaurant.

Ask for lean cut and the butcher to thinly cut for you!

Prepare to wrap: Have a shallow bowl of warm water nearby. Dip the rice paper by horizontally sliding the rice paper into the water and rotate so the entire paper has been quickly soaked. Place onto a large plate.

Or if you prepare fresh rolls often, pick up some rice paper dividers. They will help you separate each wet paper to make wrapping at the table easier, without having the water basin present which helps prevent spilling.

Comes in small and large sizes at Asian specialty houseware stores.

Place a piece of leaf lettuce onto the lower half of the wet rice paper to anchor the rest of the ingredients. Layer with vermicelli, pork, bean sprouts, cucumber and mixed herbs. Fold up the bottom to cover the filling, fold over the sides to cover ends of filling, roll up then add some chives (6-inch pieces) along the inner roll before placing shrimps on upper part of rice paper; roll over to seal. TIP: Work quickly so the rice paper does not stick to the plate as it can easily tear and do not over stuff or it will burst!

Étienne isn't keen on the herbs and opted for alfalfa sprouts, pork and shrimps served with fish sauce.

Sébastien had the works in his roll minus the chives. 
He adores peanut-hoisin sauce for dipping!

For more on Vietnamese eats, search my blog for other Vietnamese recipes!

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