Monday, March 24, 2008

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon) - 2.5 pts each

These are a special treat for me when I can find them at restaurants. They're often listed as Summer Rolls, but the literal translation is "mix salad roll" (thanks, Wikipedia). Usually I hate the word "salad" unless preceded by "ham," "tuna," "potato," "pasta," or "bacon cheese and roast beef," but I make a special exceptions for the particularly delicious, and that includes these rolls.

The traditional recipe includes pork and peanuts, but they're equally yummy without the extra fat, I promise. Most recipes also include mint and cilantro, but I rarely see basil; I think the basil balances the flavor of the cilantro. I like to put my condiments directly in the wrapper, and they're not really the "appropriate" ones, but they're the ones I always have on hand, and they definitely work. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can throw whatever you want in there for veggies, so this is just a guideline.

Goi Cuon
Adapted from restaurants and stuff

16 sheets rice paper (banh trang)
8 oz rice noodles (banh hoi), cooked
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
1 lb shrimp, steamed and cut in half lengthwise
1 bunch mint, leaves only
1 bunch basil, leaves only
1 cucumber, sliced into thin sticks, skin-on and seeds removed
1 cup shredded carrot (or use a potato peeler to make thin strands)
Hoison Sauce
Sriracha Sauce
1 head lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch strips (bib lettuce has more flavor, but any will do)
8 oz bean sprouts

Prep all your veggies according to the ingredient list, and create a little assembly line of your ingredients in the prep area because you're going to be moving fast. Lay a clean town down where you'll be rolling the uh, rolls. Now get ready to rock and roll [editor's note: I didn't realize this was a pun until after I was done writing the recipe, so, uh, pun unintended?]

There are a lot of *things* in each roll, so do a test run and try to include very small amounts of everything. Then you can adjust amounts so you know that everything will fit.

Fill a large bowl with warm, not hot, water. Lay a sheet of the rice paper in the bowl, make sure the whole thing gets wet, then place on your towel. The order of the insides doesn't matter much, but you can create a prettier arrangement by starting with four cilantro leaves in the middle of the paper. Behind that, arrange about 5-6 shrimp slices in a row, like they're spooning. Next 4 leaves mint, 2 large basil leaves, a pinch of cucumber sticks, a pinch of carrot shreds, a little squiggle each of sriracha and hoison, some lettuce, about 1/2 oz bean sprouts, then about 1/2 oz rice noodles.

Next, fold in the sides, then starting from the end nearest you, roll away from you. Set onto a plate with the seam of the wrapper down, just to make sure it doesn't spring open on ya. Cuz then it'd be a spring roll.

Repeat 16 times. Serve to your friends and impress the hell out of them.

2 points per roll (1/16 of batch): 119 calories, 1.8g fiber, .8g fat

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