Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn)When we make these we let everyone prepare their own and it makes for a really fun meal activity. As the recipe states, you can substitute various herbs’ we particularly like thai basil, shiso, and mint together. We will add julienned pieces of hakurei turnips, daikon, or even sweet peppers and sometimes substitute shredded pork or shrimp for tofu. For dipping sauces we use a traditional Nuoc Cham and peanut sauce (recipes below).
Nuoc Cham –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
1/4cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
1 Tbls sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 bird chile, minces
several shreds of carrot (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Serve in small condiment bowls. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (after that, the garlic starts to taste tired).
Vietnamese Peanut Sauce –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
2 scant Tbls tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 Tbls warm water or substitute 2 Tbls tomato paste
2 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbls fermented soybean paste (tuong in Vietnamese; dao jiao in Thai)
1 cup water
1 ½ tsp sugar
1-2 bird chiles, minced
Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice
Place the peanuts in a food processor or large mortar and process or pound to a coarse powder; set aside. If using tamarind, press it through a sieve; reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is starting to change color, about 15 seconds. Add the soybean paste and the tamarind or tomato paste and stir to blend. Stir in ½ cup water, then stir in most of the ground peanuts, reserving about 1 Tbls for the garnish. Stir in the sugar and chiles. Add up to ½ cup more water, until you have the desired texture: a thick liquid, pourable but not watery. Serve in small condiment bowls, warm or at room temperature, squeezing on the lime and sprinkling on the reserved peanuts just before serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat it in a small pan and simmer briefly before serving.
Shiso Granita – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
15 green shiso leaves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Place the shiso leaves in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat the sugar and 3 cups water to boiling in a medium saucepan, stirring the sugar to dissolve. Pour the boiling sugar water over the leaves and steep until cool. Set a strainer over a plastic container large enough to hold 3 cups and strain out the leaves. Cover and transfer the shiso-flavored sugar water to a freezer shelf. Let sit, undisturbed, in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove to the countertop, open the lid, and gently stir in the crystals that have formed on the perimeter. Repeat this operation every 30 minutes, breaking up any larger crystals as you go. The finished granita should be flaky. Serve alone in a glass bowl or goblet. This is also wonderful served alongside Fig Ice Cream and Plum Sorbet. Keeps frozen for several weeks.