Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Midsummer Month's Blopping

I've participated in NaBloPoMo for the past two years, and now it's expanded to be every month (not just November). Each month has a theme, and while I'm not up for trying to write a post every day in July (lack of internets at home makes blopping nigh unpossible on the weekends), I am interested in food. And writing about it. So I'm going to write about food sometimes this month. And you are going to like it.

First up: Thai spring rolls

Our 3-month wedding anniversary was on Sunday, so Dan and I decided to make a nice dinner. We decided to make thai spring rolls (making use of some of the thai basil in the garden), edamame, and wonton skins filled with red bean paste. Luckily, the only things we needed at the grocery store to make this fine meal were shrimp and carrots. We got to use some of our new kitchen equipment (bamboo steamer for the edamame) and, after some major teamwork, had a tasty and relatively healthy celebratory meal.

Thai spring rolls (makes 4) (which is enough for 2 people if you add in some edamame and some wonton skins filled with red bean paste)

4 spring roll wrappers (the big kind, I think they are 9x9 inches?)
2 carrots, shredded
3 large lettuce leaves, shredded
12 leaves thai basil (you can use regular basil or mint, but I like thai basil a lot)
a handful of rice vermicelli
16 51-60 size raw shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1/4 red bell pepper, julienned thinly

1. Prep the veggies and boil water for rice vermicelli (often sold as rice stick noodles, the really really thin kind)
2. Season shrimp with something that sounds tasty. We used this but you could use garlic or any variety of seasonings.
3. Sautee shrimp with a very small amount of oil in a nonstick pan until cooked, about 2 minutes (toss occasionally). Transfer shrimp to small bowl and refrigerate.
4. Toss handful of rice vermicelli into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain and run cold water over the noodles for 30 seconds or so to cool them off.
5. Soak spring roll wrappers one at a time - we have to use a cookie sheet with high sides - maybe this is a jelly roll pan? - to make sure the wrapper fits and can be completely submerged.
6. Pay attention to spring roll wrappers - touch them frequently to see how pliable they are. If you wait too long, they'll fall apart.
7. When each wrapper is at the correct consistency, drain and transfer to a plate. On each wrapper, place some lettuce, carrot, noodles, red bell pepper, 4 cooked shrimp and 3 thai basil leaves. Roll up like a burrito (fold sides in).
8. When all 4 wrappers are filled, you can refrigerate for a while or eat right away.

I also made an impromptu peanut sauce with natural style chunky peanut butter (ingredient: peanuts), some soy sauce and some brown sugar. We drizzled this on the thai spring rolls and it was mighty tasty.

As for the less-than-healthy portion of our dinner, we opened a can of red bean paste, spread some on the middle of four wonton skins that had been in the freezer since God was a boy (so it took forever to defrost them and they were all weird and mushy), topped each with another wonton skin, and fried them until they were cooked, turning occasionally. We don't eat much fried food so wonton skins (either filled with something or alone) are a guilty pleasure. Also, it's fun to put uncooked rice vermicelli in the hot oil because they get all weird and puffy and snakelike in like 2 seconds.

It was a really yummy dinner.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Oooh, thanks for the head's up. I've been meaning to do a month of recipe posting anyway.

I use almost exactly this recipe and I love it. Although, I don't season the shrimp, I just boil some raw ones up. If I want to reduce the calories I actually eliminate the rice noodles and sub with tofu, bean sprouts, a sprinkle of ground peanuts and shredded lettuce. At that point it truly is a salad roll. Also, I dump in thai basil, mint and cilantro for my herbs.

There's a dipping liquid here at Vietnamese restaurants that I really like-I think it's called Nuoac Mam.

Yank In Texas said...

Yum. We use the same recipe too- except I put some cucumber in mine. Bean sprouts too. My portion is all vegetarian though.
Monkey- I think the Nuoac Mam is fish sauce. I use it in all my Thai/Vietnamese dishes.
I've been awful about my recipe posting- heck even just my regular posting. And I've got some new ones too.

MLE said...

Bean sprouts and ground peanuts and cucumber all sound good - the nice thing about this is how easy it is to tweak. We didn't have any bean sprouts or cucumber or peanuts in the house, so just the basic thai spring roll recipe was what we made. That I kind of made up out of whole cloth a year or so ago.

We have a lot of thai basil, regular basil, dill, mint, and thyme in the yard, so I intend to figure out good recipes to use them until we start getting tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers (which will be a while yet).

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

sorry, the dipping sauce is nuoc cham, which has nuoc mam (fish sauce) as an ingredient. I also like using hoisin watered down with a little water.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

ooooh, tip on the mint. If you have an excess just dry it out in the sun underneath a cheese cloth. Then when completely dried out, crumble into a bottle and you have Raita base all year round. My mom made some for me last year-she just bought a bunch of mint at the chinese grocery store, dried it out on my deck and then crumbled it into a bottle for me. Lovely.