Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Crunchy Miss

I am quite familiar with eating Vietnamese spring rolls, having consumed many before diving into a hot bowl of Pho. However, I have recently learned that I am not so acquainted with handling rice paper. Making Vietnamese Summer Rolls (page 26) was a messy affair. To be honest, I am a bit clumsy and I have the potential to be quite messy. Any recipe requiring pan-frying, flour, and/or dredging calls for extra clean-up time in my kitchen. The idea behind the rolls is simple: yummy, fresh, iningredients (many of them crunchy), are rolled up in rice paper. The rolls are then dipped in a sauce called nuoc cham (recipe page 111). The rice paper was too delicate for my fingers, I ripped two out of...two. Jack suggested I double up next time - not a bad idea. The combination of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cellophane noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, cilantro, and mint is so refreshing. The mint always takes me by surprise - in a good way. Making sure the rolls aren't overstuffed was the second biggest challenge for me. My rolls made for messy eating. This wouldn't have been a big deal, but the nuoc cham sauce was way too tangy. I think the two tablespoons of rice vinegar was too much. I don't know if it was me or the recipe, but something was off. I should have used this nuoc cham recipe instead. I may need to make this dipping sauce again in future recipes. Next up: Steamed Fish with Green Onions and Ginger.

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