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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sandwiches made in minutes out of interfacing


Now I am liberated to add a sort of cooking sub-department to this blog I have my latest to share.

Every year when we drive down here we go to this really wonderful Thai restaurant in Freeport that has these amazing fresh rolls - made out of rice paper wrappers and salad stuff inside with a few shrimp.

These are A1 units but that's a long way to go to get them, say on a Tuesday night in Halifax.

So I made it my mission to replicate what they serve and I think the head chef and I have come up with a very reasonable facsimile.

These are excellent summer sandwich substitutes and a total snap to make. If your salad gear is already chopped (the short cut sous chef is thinking right now of her food processor at home, or those little bags of shredded salad stuff you can buy at the store) the actual assembly is less time than it takes to cut the crusts off a sandwich and into diagonal slices.

They keep for a few days in the fridge too if you have some left over and are for some reason quite filling, which is unusual for something that is actually good for you.

I can see knocking a few of these back standing at the fridge door with my purse still over my arm and my coat on for example just to tide me over when I come in from work.


This is what you end up with (my apologies to all South East Asian readers who will fall on the floor in hysterics over what we have done with this concept - note these are not hors d'oeuvre size, more like standing in front of the fridge door with your purse on your arm size.) And our version does not have rice noodles or other common and proper ingredients in them because cooking those noodles takes time ...

These units are ideally eaten dunked in a sauce. What you like is up to you. Some places serve a peanut sauce but the mecca in Freeport uses a thin chilli fish sauce - my own rendition will be at the bottom of this post.

What you will need:

Rice paper disks. These are sitting around on the shelves at Asian stores or maybe in larger supermarkets than our local Winn Dixie. 

This is what they look like:

When you take these little numbers out of the package they are sort of delicate looking and look just like non-woven interfacing so be encouraged by that.

Don't be fooled. These are sturdier than they look and all you do is dunk them in water for 5 seconds fill and roll.

They won't fall apart or rip and once rolled up they sort of gum up together (doesn't that description just make your mouth water?) and never unwrap. 

So no unrolling like a tortilla wrap, or shattering like phyllo.

This is easy.

If it wasn't I wouldn't be writing about it.

Once you have dipped the circles in water you plunk them down and put in whatever your little heart desires, or whatever you have in the fridge you want to get rid of inside and see what you can do to roll them up. Ours have been made of  shredded lettuce, carrot, cucumber, green onion, a few shrimp and some cilantro.

When you are done this is what they look like on the plate:

Practically zero calories and gluten-free if that is important to you.

The dipping sauce I made has this in it. No measurements because I didn't measure, just taste it:

  • some water
  • a bit of brown sugar
  • some rice vinegar
  • some garlic powder
  • a slug of fish sauce (this is really the key - and the reason there is some water in this - fish sauce tastes really authentic but will knock your socks off undiluted, mainly because it sort of smells like old socks)
  • some asian type chilli sauce from the back of the fridge

Now this is the best part. A video of the head chef making these up. The sound is awful as I was the videographer. We will do better next time.



BeccaA said...

These are great! A Japanese friend and I used to go to a Vietnamese shop for these rolls after classes many years ago, and a couple of years ago she taught me to make them. I love your idea of skipping the rice sticks and just using vegetables. I usually put in a tiny bit of fresh basil as well.

kbenco said...

I really enjoy your blog, and although I originally came here for the sewing, all the other stuff is very interesting too. You write very well and are entertaining whatever you talk about. Thanks!
We eat these all summer long. Trust me, the rice vermicelli noodles are very easy to make up ahead of time - soak in water for 10min, and chopping the veges takes about that long if you are making a bunch of them for later. Adding the noodles makes the rolls so much more filling than just vegetables,I have convincing evidence that they will even fill up a teenager. We also like ours with chopped cashews for a no-cooking vegetarian version with actual protein.

badmomgoodmom said...

I often have odd bits of rice, but no rice noodles.

So why not put rice in it? Sushi meets rice paper?

Angela said...

This looks very similar to what I usually order at PeiWei. I have never thought that I could make them myself. Thanks so much for this heads up.

Alison said...

I discovered a match made in heaven for these yesterday. Avocado & smoked salmon (along with the veg of course). Divine!

These are also really easy to eat while driving. Ask me how I know. :)

Cosmos said...

Around here we have a ton of Vietnamese restaurants, and we call these delicacies spring rolls. I make them at home, and love them!

Cosmos said...

Around here we have a ton of Vietnamese restaurants, and we call these delicacies spring rolls. I make them at home, and love them!

RebeccaHoward said...

These are all over the place as fast food in Sydney Australia as well. We call them rice paper rolls. Duh. I make them a lot at home but put all the stuff on the table so everyone can make their own. Saves arguments with fussy teenagers.