Cooking vaguely Vietnamese food

Last night we had a 'make your own spring roll' dinner, based loosely on a meal we had at a Vietnamese restaurant. I have no idea what the real name of the dish was called, but essentially they provided things to go into rice paper wrappers and you rolled them up. It's a little bit of prep work at the beginning, and a little tricky to sort out how to serve it, but everyone enjoyed it. Here's what I did.

Make your own spring rolls (there is no way I can give you amounts... you're just going to have to guess based on how many people you have and what you think they'll eat)

Sliced beef (I found some great pre-sliced stir-fry meat at H Mart the other day.... meat sliced for Bulgogi would work, too.)

Marinate this for a while in a mixture of equal parts soy sauce and oyster sauce. Then while it is marinating, slice some green onions and chop some garlic. Set these aside.

Before you cook the beef, you will want to prepare the other toppings. I shredded some carrots, washed some leaf lettuce, cut some cucumbers into sticks, put some bean sprouts in a bowl, and made some dipping sauce (nuoc cham). If you have access to spicy basil and mint, put some of that out, too, Oh, and cook some rice noodles, the skinny vermicelli kind. (The trick to these is to cook them for only 3 minutes, then drain in a colander with a small bowl turned upside down inside, and run cold water over the them. I don't know why the bowl keeps them from sticking, but it does. Let them cool in the sink until you are ready to serve.)

Now you are ready to cook your beef. Heat a pan and put in some sesame oil. When it is hot, add the green onions, and stir them for a minute or two. Add the beef and cook until you are comfortable eating it. (We like things medium rare around here.)

The last thing you need is to boil some hot water so the people eating can soften their rice paper wrappers. I put shallow bowls on the table for people to share, and then put the hot water in them.

To serve, you set everything on the table. Take a rice paper wrapper, and dip it into the hot water. I like to put just a portion of it in, and turn it until it is all wet. This is the key part. You don't want it too soggy, or it becomes impossible to work with, but too hard and it won't fold. It takes a little practice. Then put the softened sheet on your plate, and fill with whatever you want inside. Wrap it like an eggroll (or burrito, if that is more familiar), dip it the dipping sauce, and enjoy.


Anonymous said…
It would be so fun to have a picture of the
done ones.....sounds delish.
Thank you for sharing....
I have enjoyed the story of your move and understand
some of the frustrations....
Thank you again,
mary m, age 70

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