It's hard to find a summer meal offering as nourishing and tasty as cellophane-thin rice papers rolls which burst with a range of raw vegetables and is seasoned or dipped in a piquant sauce, says Zelda Pande.
It's surprisingly filling too. A popular Vietnamese dish, its preparation short and sweet.
You can pick and choose the vegetables you wish to add to your Veggie Rice Paper Rolls, but a ripe avocado is somewhat essential as it is the glue to the whole deal. And mulee or radish ups the taste quotient, but a little miso paste could do that too.
Prawns are a welcome addition for seafood lovers
Veggie Rice Paper Rolls
- 1 packet rice papers, available online
- 1-2 avocados, peeled, deseeded, cut in chunks
- 1 green or red capsicum, cored, chopped
- 2-3 spring onions chopped
- Handful bean sprouts
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 small mulee or white radish, peeled and grated
- 5-6 tbsp grated red cabbage or green cabbage
- 4-5 mushrooms, chopped, steamed, optional
- 4-5 tbsp steamed corn, optional
- 4-5 pieces babycorn, cut into 1-inch pieces, steamed, optional
- 4-5 pieces iceberg lettuce, optional
- 10-12 sticks cucumber, optional
- 7-8 slice jalapeno, optional
- 7-8 slices dill pickle, optional
- Handful green dhania or coriander or cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup chopped tofu, lightly fried
- 15-20 small prawns, cleaned, de-veined, head and tail removed, broiled or lightly fried
For the sauce
- 5 tbsp peanut butter
- 3-4 tbsp red chilly sauce
- 1-inch piece ginger, grated
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Additional optional sauces
- Sriracha sauce
- Soy sauce
To make the sauce
- Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together till smooth.
- Choose the vegetables you prefer because using all the optional ones too is a lot of vegetables.
Place the vegetables, grouped together by type, on a large platter.
Keep a large bowl of very hot water on hand.
- Dip each rice paper into the hot water and allow it to soften and pull out of the water with tongs.
Place the softened rice paper in the centre of a plate and pile a mix the vegetables and/or prawns desired in the centre.
Don't overfill or the rice paper may tear while being rolled up. Sprinkle sauces generously over the vegetables.
Tuck the ends in and carefully roll up and eat with your fingers or with a knife and fork.
Note: These rice paper rolls are quite versatile and the sky's the limit on what you could additionally add.
A few suggestions: Shredded cooked pork or fish sauce or shredded roast chicken or pre-cooked and spiced rice noodles or miso paste.
It's possible to gussy up these rolls a little further, making them a tad less healthy, by frying them up slowly with a little roasted sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan over low heat.
One pack of rice papers has 10 papers and works for two people.
Rice paper rolls are gluten-free but note that soy sauce has a little wheat.
Those on a Jain diet should skip the radish, carrots and bulbs of the green onion. And in the sauce they should substitute fresh grated ginger with ginger powder and skip the garlic paste.
Given the minimal rice content, those on a diabetic diet may have rice papers. But make sure sugar-free peanut butter is used for sauce.