C. isn’t a fan of salad and will usually leave it to the end of his meal only to then declare he’s too full to manage it. So over the years I’ve been proud whenever I’ve managed to serve him a salad he actually enjoyed. And by that I don’t even mean potato salad or the crazy Bavarian invention of sausage salad – thin slices of sausage with onions, oil and vinegar. I’m talking about real salad, complete with healthy, raw ingredients.
Today’s salad was something special: Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese summer rolls. These yummy packages of crunchy vegetables and noodles wrapped in rice paper are as much fun to make as they are to eat. All you need are strips of your favourite vegetables, some boiled noodles, rice paper and some herbs and spices. You can keep it vegan or vegetarian, maybe with some tofu, or you can add any meat or seafood you fancy.
I used peppers, cucumber, soy bean sprouts, carrots, spring onions, prawns and thin vermicelli boiled and then mixed with a dressing of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and chilli. Each sheet of rice paper was briefly soaked in water and then a neat heap of all ingredients was placed in the centre of it, starting with the prawns. You then wrap it in four simple steps:
As we started eating, C. told me that he’d been to such a gorgeous fruit and veg department today he was tempted to suggest salad for dinner. It was then that I pointed our we were essentially having salad anyhow. So if F. is going to be one of those fussy kids who don’t like eating their vegetables, I think I’ll give this recipe a try…
I served the summer rolls with some sweet chilli sauce, although I think a spicy peanut sauce would have been more traditional. But that’s the beauty of this recipe: it’s basically just a building kit for everyone to be creative with as they please.
Come to think of it, I might try this as a way of saving dessert! Or even as a crazy fusion dish with the aforementioned sausage salad… Oh, the possibilities.