Winter is usually about soups, curries, stews and other hearty dishes, but sometimes you just need something a little more colourful. Rice paper rolls are the ultimate summer dish, but no longer are they banished to hot weather alone.
The great thing about rice paper rolls is how versatile they are – you can pretty much make them with whatever you have on hand. As a result, each time I make them they are slightly different. While I’ve only included veggies in these ones, I often add a strip of marinated tofu or tempeh to each roll, or even some edamame beans or avocado (though I haven’t tried avo in the baked version). When I am making fresh rice paper rolls, I always tend to separate out each ingredient and place them neatly in the rolls, but with these I’ve just mixed all the bits up in a bowl and chucked them in – perhaps more reminiscent of a spring roll filling. Easy as bro.
Like the filling, the dipping sauce I use varies each time – sometimes I just grab some sweet chili or rice wine vinegar and soy straight from the bottles, or sometimes I feel inspired to whip something up especially. I initially intended to do a peanut dipping sauce, but after finding there was no peanut butter (sacrilege!) I improvised with cashews and sesame oil, which had quite a similar effect.
I did have a go at pan frying these dudes, and then tried baking them – while they were both good, I preferred the texture of the baked ones which seemed to get a little crispier while still retaining some chewiness, as well as being less oily.
2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup spring onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrot, julienned (about 1 large carrot)
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
100g brown rice vermicelli noodles
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 chili, finely chopped
Rice paper sheets
Olive oil for brushing
Cashew dipping sauce:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sriracha
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
Preheat oven to 180C, and line two baking trays with paper.
Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl, and cover with warm water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together cabbages, spring onions, carrot, mint, coriander and bean sprouts. When noodles are tender, drain them and using kitchen scissors, roughly chop them so they become smaller pieces. Add to the bowl with the veggies.
In a small bowl, mix together chili, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over the veggie mix.
Now prepare a large bowl with warm water to dip the rice paper sheets in. One at a time, lay out the sheets, place filling in the centre and roll up, folding the sides in first then rolling away from yourself. If you aren’t familiar with how to wrap rice paper rolls, jump on youtube and do a quick search.
Lay rice paper rolls down on the prepared trays, then spray or brush with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 10-15.
To make the dipping sauce, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If too thick, keep adding water one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.