Ok foodies, it’s my next installment of blogs about area restaurants and their tasty fare. It’s the most amazing thing for a foodie – finding something you love to eat and being able to re-create it for yourself at home. One of my newest favorites are Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
I was first introduced to them at what would soon become my favorite restaurant, Mai Lee. These delicacies are tasty, crunchy, healthy, and a seemingly daunting little combination of goodness. Why daunting? That rice paper exterior is a little odd and not something you see every day.
I confess to being intimidated for many years, but I finally took to my favorite website of inspiration, Pinterest, and found a bunch of recipes and How To videos on making them. Really, it’s not that much different than making a good burrito! And like a good burrito, you can put what ever you like best inside of them!
A good spring roll is really just a healthy salad inside rice paper. The basics are greens like lettuce, bok choy, or napa cabbage. I don’t use bok choy or napa cabbage because I wouldn’t know what to do with the leftovers, so I just grab a bag of romaine lettuce. Whatever I don’t use in the spring rolls would be a salad for lunch the next day. The other staples of the recipe are very thin rice noodles, other veggies like carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, and a protein of your choice. I’m a shrimp girl, but you can use thinly sliced pork, chicken, or even tofu. Heck, make up your own burrito-like combination and make it California style by adding some avocado or crab! Really, it is up to your taste buds!
Now, how about a word or two on the rice paper? It really is like nothing else. Think of it as a tortilla but with the consistency of plastic wrap. It is wiggly and likes to attach to itself like plastic wrap does, so you have to pay attention to it at all times.
If you need a great recipe to get started on making your own, check out these great blogs: Gimme Some Oven & Armelle’s blog for great recipes and Not Enough Cinnamon has great photo instructions.
You don’t really care to cook but love to eat? Check out some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city: Mai Lee, Lemongrass, and Pho Grand. Bon Appetite!
Photos courtesy of Gimme Some Oven, Armelle’s Blog, and Not Enough Cinnamon.