One of the favourite things I like to eat are Vietnamese cold spring rolls. The other day I looked up a recipe for them online and realized they really are pretty easy to make as long as the ingredients could be obtained.
Yesterday I was in The Big City with a friend and we happened upon the Whole Foods Market in Yorkville. And they had all the ingredients I needed: rice vermicelli, rice wrappers, garlic chili sauce, fish sauce and dipping sauce. Since I was walking and taking the GO train, I figured I'd buy the hoisin sauce back at home as it is very likely to be found in any grocery store.
Today I made a batch - 6 spring rolls - which served as most of our dinner tonight. I used this recipe and added julienned carrots. Slivers of red pepper would be great as well. I couldn't find Thai basil so I used regular fresh basil from the garden. We also have cilantro in the garden that seems to be seeding itself.
I had watched a couple of videos and read comments accompanying various recipes so I had a pretty good idea of how to proceed.
I bought frozen, peeled, raw shrimp as I find cooked shrimp are usually overcooked and rubbery. I thawed the amount I needed and popped them into boiling water for a couple of minutes. I cooled them off by plunging them into cold water and then removed the tails. I then chopped up all the ingredients and assembled them in piles on a plate so I could easily assemble the spring rolls.
The rice vermicelli only need to cook for 3 minutes. I drained them and then ran cold water over them, drained them again and set them aside. I was now ready to begin my production line.
Following the instructions, I dipped a rice wrapper in warm water for a couple of seconds and then put it on a place and added the ingredients, folded in the sides and rolled it up tight. One tip I learned from my research was to not let them touch once they had been made so as to not to stick together or rip.
The result was excellent! (If I do say so myself)
I then made the sauces. The first one was simply the hoisin sauce mixed with chopped peanuts. The second sauce was the dipping sauce from the recipe (in the bowl on the left). We also tried the dipping sauce from the store just as a basis of comparison.
I would also chop up a larger quantity of the mint, basil, and carrots (or red pepper) than the recipe requires for this number of servings.
Yay! I now have another recipe to add to my repertoire.