Monday, September 22, 2008
Banh Trang Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Makes 6-8 Servings
Rice paper (banh trang)
Rice vermicelli noodles
Lettuce leaves, sliced into strips
1 can pineapple chunks or slices, drained
3 lbs boneless pork ribs
3-4 green onions, cut into 4" sections
6-12 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (We use the squid brand...do not be afraid! It mostly tastes like salt. The smell is the worst part, but once it's cooked into food, it doesn't taste how it smells.)
2 tablespoons oil
Sriracha pepper sauce
Put noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water just until covered. Let sit for several minutes, until soft.
Stir in sugar and fish sauce into beaten eggs. In a large skillet heat oil. Pour eggs in and cook until scrambled and cooked through. Remove to a plate and cut into 3-4" strips.
Place pork roast into a large pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling and allow to boil until meat is cooked through, about 20 minutes depending on the size and cut of your meat. Remove from heat and cut into 3-4" strips.
Fill large shallow pan with warm water--make sure the pan is large enough to hold a rice paper sheet in. Slide a rice paper sheet into the water, pressing it down until it sinks and remains covered with water. Let it sit for maybe 5 seconds and pull it out. It will be more flexible than when you put it in, but not soft yet--it will continue to soften as you fill it. Make sure there are still a couple stiff spots. The paper will soak in additional water during assembly and will soften. If the paper is completely soft when you remove it, it won't retain it's shape as well and will often stick together and tear.
Lay the sheet on your plate or platter. We put all the ingredients and water on the table and just have a big assembly line. But sometimes we prepare them all ahead of time to make it easier on people, especially if we have guests or are super hungry.
Now it's time to layer and wrap! Put a slice of lettuce in the center of the paper on the left side--it should cover about 2 inches by 4 inches, so you may need a couple slices, depending on how you cut your lettuce. Then layer about 1/4 cup or so of the cooked vermicelli noodles. Then layer shrimp, pineapple, pork, green onions and eggs on op of these and put your hoisin, sriracha and ground peanuts on top. It takes a couple tries to figure out exactly how much filling to put in so it isn't too full or too empty, but once you get the hang of it, it's much easier.
Pull up the ends tightly and then start rolling from the left side, like a burrito. The paper will stick together and make a seal, keeping all the ingredients inside.
Serve with bowls of additional hoisin and sriracha and dip in as you eat.
This looks and sounds complicated, I know, but trust me when I say it really isn't! The hardest part is all the slicing and preparing, but once you've got all your filling ingredients prepared and ready, all you've got to do is assemble and eat. We can usually get this meal on the table in under an hour and it is a family favorite. Most of the ingredients you can find right in your grocery store, in the ethnic food section. The rice paper, vermicelli noodles and fish sauce may need to be purchased in an Asian market if you can't find them in your grocery store, however all of our local Publix markets carry these items. Enjoy. :)