- An easy Asian recipe that you can manipulate to your own taste
I’m a massive fan of this recipe for the simple reason that you can put into it as much, or as little, as you like. As much effort, as much fat and salt, as much money, as much meat. It can be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or filled with offal, whatever floats your boat. It can feed an entire party of people, or can be used as a lunchtime snack.
At the heart of this dish is circular Vietnamese rice paper, available in every far eastern food shop, about 150 sheets for a couple of quid. You dip them for a moment in hot water and they’re ready to be filled – lay a small oblong-shaped pile of your fillings in the centre, fold the sides towards the centre, and roll away from you. It’s easier than sushi and near infinite in its variational possibilities.
Here’s a list of possibilities, ideally each roll would be a combination encompassing one from each group:
Carrots cut into matchsticks, diced cucumber (remove the seeds to avoid too much moisture), (very finely) shredded cabbage or lettuce, grated turnip, grated celeriac, celery, beansprouts, rocket, radish, peas, peppers, cooked rice noodles, brown rice.
Grated ginger, fried garlic, chives, coriander, thai basil, pickled mustard greens, mint, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, grated coconut, fried shallots, cress, raw chilli, crushed peanuts or cashews.
Any stir-fry would do, but try to make sure that there aren’t any massive clunky ingredients. A soy and ginger based pork or tofu dish. A sweet and sour concoction of diced pineapple, pepper, cucumber and chicken. A piece of pork belly roasted with hoisin sauce. A dry thai curry.
Any sauce that catches your eye in a far eastern supermarket. Sukiyaki, teriyaki, Sriracha chilli sauce, a nice thick sweet soy sauce, Kecap Manis, there are dozens of them, each slightly different. Or you can make your own. For this dish the most basic sauce consists of fish sauce (4tbs), chilli, sugar (half a tsp) and the juice of a lime.
It’s the perfect dish for a house full of people. Get everyone to bring a few of the above ingredients, give them all a knife, knock up a few simple stir-fries, and enjoy.