Skillet #2 - Julian's Rice Paper Rolls

 

As part of the launch of "Skillet"  - our new community kitchen program - Melbourne University student Julian came on board and demonstrated his recipe for making delicious rice paper rolls. We're ecstatic that Julian happily shared his love of food and his secrets for making the perfect rice paper roll with us!

Julian - "I think it is beautiful how food can be used to connect people - it can be like a social glue. Preparing rice paper rolls as a group means that: 1). You don't have to roll 100s yourself - delegation FTW. 2). Each person can customise their own - no unwanted coriander!"

 Julian preparing some smoked tofu to be incorporated into his rice paper rolls later.

Julian preparing some smoked tofu to be incorporated into his rice paper rolls later.

 

Julian's Rice Paper Rolls:

Serves: makes approximately 30 rice paper rolls (enough for a small get-together of 8 - 10 people)

Prep time: 20 - 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 - 30 depending on how many helping hands you can find ;)

 

 Julian surrounded by his various rice paper roll components, working hard on multiple rolls at a time to produce them efficiently.

Julian surrounded by his various rice paper roll components, working hard on multiple rolls at a time to produce them efficiently.

 

Ingredients:

Rice paper rolls:

  • 1 packet of rice papers (preferably Bamboo Tree brand)
  • Rice noodles (preferably Wai Wai brand)
  • ¼ head iceberg lettuce, or equivalent mixed lettuce
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint
  • Any other fragrant herbs on hand (we used shiso and cranberry hibiscus)
  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 pack of smoked tofu (Earnest Bean) (or any other protein such as cooked chicken)
  • Sesame oil

Dipping sauce:

  • 1x long red chilli
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar

 

 A participant of the cooking demonstration stacking on Vietnamese mint, cranberry hibiscus and fresh cos lettuce into many rice paper rolls.

A participant of the cooking demonstration stacking on Vietnamese mint, cranberry hibiscus and fresh cos lettuce into many rice paper rolls.

 

What to do:

  1. Prepare your dipping sauce:
    1.  Finely dice the ginger, garlic and the chilli (deseed and or adjust quantity according to your preference for spice). Set aside.
    2. Combine the sugar and vinegar in a pot, gently heat without boiling, until the sugar is dissolved.
    3. Add chilli, ginger and garlic mix to the pot and heat until fragrant.
    4. Leave to cool and store excess sauce for another occasion, this should keep very well.
  2. Prepare the filling for rice paper rolls:
    1. Cut carrots and cucumbers into batons about 10cm long
    2. Slice smoked tofu into thin slices
    3. Wash, dry and pick the leaves from the herbs and the lettuce.
  3. Prepare your rice noodles: Wai Wai brand noodles are very thin, and only need soaking in boiling water for 2 minutes – super easy! Otherwise, prepare as per the package instructions. Cool the cooked noodles in cold water and drain.
  4. Organize your ingredients around your chosen work station so that they are easily accessible and ready to be put into your rice paper rolls (this is where small bowls are key!).
  5. Prepare a container of warm water to dip your rice paper rolls in and you’re ready to roll!

 

 Julian delicately placing rice noodles into one of his rice paper rolls.

Julian delicately placing rice noodles into one of his rice paper rolls.

 

Rolling suggestions:

  1. Gently dip a single rice paper in the water and lay it down flat on a board in front of you.
  2. Start with your leafy herbs and lettuce and work your way up to the crunchy items and noodles: this way the rice paper roll will be layered and much easier to roll.
  3. Put a few drops of sesame oil and a pinch of sesame seeds on the top edge of the rice paper, and the tofu on top of that.
  4. Roll from the bottom to the top making sure to tuck the sides in.
  5. Set that one aside and get to work on the next one: practice makes perfect!

 

 One of Julian's participants beginning to roll a perfectly portioned rice paper roll topped with rice noodles and smoked tofu.

One of Julian's participants beginning to roll a perfectly portioned rice paper roll topped with rice noodles and smoked tofu.

 

Julian's secrets to successful rice paper rolls:

  • Ever wondered how rice papers sometimes look beautiful on the outside, showing all the ingredients? The top edge of the rice paper is going to be what people see once it is rolled up. Make this nice by adding sesame seeds, or a piece of mint, and you will be rolling like a pro!
  • Be sparing with how much you put into your rolls: there’s nothing worse than overfilling them and making them hard to wrap!
  • Make these as close to serving time as possible, as rice paper rolls don’t store well over 4 hours.
  • Add roasted peanuts or fried shallots for extra deliciousness and crunch.

 

 The finished product: a perfect rice paper roll with mint, smoked tofu and black sesame seeds showing through the translucent casing.

The finished product: a perfect rice paper roll with mint, smoked tofu and black sesame seeds showing through the translucent casing.