While I lived in San Francisco, my favorite thing to do on breaks from the music recording studio was to go get lunch at Tu’Lan, a cheap Vietnamese dive in the hood (Tenderloin). You could get shot or robbed in that neighborhood but, they had the best spring rolls – so it was worth the risk to venture out. You could get them with shrimp or tofu and they were a whole meal for only $5 bucks! Here is my take on that great treat – no risk at all. Simple to make, healthy to eat! Now get in the kitchen and cook.
For the Spring Rolls:
10 Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
15 shrimp, cleaned and deveined or use Tofu to make vegetarian
Cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into long slices
Fresh herbs: mint, cilantro
2 cups vermicelli rice noodles, cooked, cooled and tossed with sesame oil
For the Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1 cup hoisin sauce (if sauce is too thick, add about 1/4 cup warm water to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chili pepper, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp. fish sauce
1. In a blender, combine all ingredients for the hoisin peanut dipping sauce. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick, add a little warm water until it is the desired consistency.
2. Boil small pot of water and add shrimp. Cook about 1 minute until pink and cooked through. remove and let cool. Slice shrimp in half lengthwise.
3. In bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper for about 15 seconds (do not over soak!) Place on cutting board and allow rice paper to soak up water and become gelatinous and pliable (about 30 seconds to 1 minute)
4. On top 1/3 side closest to you, lay lettuce on the bottom for added strength to the wrapper. Then place 3 shrimp halves, herbs, a little rice noodles and other vegetables. Roll up spring roll about 1/3 way through, then fold in the sides and finish rolling to make a log.
5. Serve with hoisin peanut sauce.
If you are too busy to make this dish yourself, you can always hire Chef Michael Thompson to make it for you in your home. Contact him at 732. 948. 2352 or michael @ chefmichaelthompson.com