Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Summer Rolls)
These are often served as an appetizer at Vietnamese restaurants, but we Vietnameses eat these as a main course because it involves a lot of ingredients and unless you're serving a party of 20, you will eat these as a main course as well. You can easily serve these as an appetizer for a party of 20. Or use a smaller rice paper and serve to a party of 40. Really. The possibilities are endless.
I probably had a run-on sentence in there somewhere.
I've made these and posted the recipe before. But the pictures were from my cell phone.
I make these every time I am in a lazy cooking mood. Which is often (i.e. all the time). The hardest part of this entire preparation is frying eggs. Or maybe it's boiling meat. Or wrapping the entire thing without breaking the rice paper. Depends on your skill-set.
Oh wait. I have one disclaimer. See that obviously-not-boiled pork meat?
I actually had to marinade and braise something because my fiance doesn't like pork unless it doesn't taste like pork. He may have hinted that he wanted me to replace pork with chicken or fish. I may have said that he was overstepping his backseat cooking boundary and that I bought a lot of pork and pork is what's for dinner. He may have stepped down. I may have won that one.
I made a special marinade for him using hoison sauce/soy sauce/garlic/pepper and then braised it until cooked and tender. You can find a better marinade pre-made at the grocery store (see below).
Julienne carrots and cucumbers are easy with this tool.
If you're feeling a little more ambitious, you can try this with Chinese BBQ seasoning.
Pork, I used shoulder roast, cut into large chunks
Rice noodles, cooked
Cilantro or any greens you like (Thai Basil is popular)
Banh Trang, rice paper
Hoison sauce, the thick kind
Spoonfuls of the pork/shrimp stock to dilute (and add flavor!)
Add sweet chili sauce or Sriracha for an extra kick
You can top with chopped peanuts, but I'm not that fancy
Bring water to a boil with salt, peppercorns and rock sugar. Add pork and cook until done. Remove pork and add shrimp into the same water. Remove shrimp when orangey pink and peel, devein (unless you have EZ peel shrimp like me) and halve. Save this stock. You can use it for Bun Bo Hue or Hu Tieu or anything that involves pork/shrimp stock.
To make the egg, you can make really thin crepe-like omelets. I just break 4 eggs in a frying pan, poke at the yolks a bit with chopsticks, cook, flip, cook, then slice. Lazy cooking methods still make for tasty dinners. Heck, you can just scramble eggs and it will distribute nicely in the Summer Roll.
Julienne carrots, cucumbers and any other greens you'd like to add. Growing up, my mom always had a backyard full of fresh herbs growing that she would use for our Summer Rolls, but I don't have a garden and cilantro is all I've got, so I make do. I would recommend Thai Basil, if you really want to make it yummy.
Boil rice noodles, drain and rinse in cold water (Yes, RINSE. This isn't flour pasta. Rice stickiness is not fun when you're wrapping these guys).
Pour water (warm is ideal) into a deep plate for dipping the rice paper.
Dip rice paper on both sides in water and set on an empty plate. Fill the paper with all the yummy stuff, fold in the sides and roll that sucker without making any holes.
Dip in the peanut sauce and enjoy.
If you're like our friend, Justin, you can just pour all the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle the dipping sauce on top and eat it like a salad.
Or layer soften rice paper and filling and dipping sauce, cut a slice out (like lasagna) and enjoy.