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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls) with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

Next week I'm having a dim sum party, so I should really wait until next week to talk about this.. but I just can't help myself.  I have shrimp that is going to be my happy hour today.. but I have this urge to transform it into these spring rolls.  I'm missing a few things, but the cool thing about spring rolls is that they are made with rice paper that you soak one at a time, so if you want just one, you can make just one.
These are pretty versatile and you can put whatever you please in them, but here is my version of these fun summer rolls.
Now, some people say that goi cuon is tasteless.. but those people obviously don't get the point.  These are salad rolls.. sometimes there is shrimp in them (like mine) but the seasoning comes from the punchy sauce.  These are not meant to be eaten sauceless!
Yield however many you feel like making
Spring rolls:
Rice paper
Salad leaves of your choice
Mint leaves
Basil leaves
Carrots cut into matchsticks
Cucumber cut into matchsticks
Shredded cabbage
Shrimp sliced lengthwise
Sliced shitakes
Glass noodles

Hoisin Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
some water to thin out the sauce

1.  Prepare all your ingredients
2.  Dip rice paper into some warm water on all edges for no longer than 2 seconds.  It should still be somewhat hard, but should not break when you bend it.  No worries.. it will soften later.
3.  Layer your ingredients so that when you roll, you can tuck the sharp edges under the protection of the salad or noodles.
Don't be too greedy.. you only need very little of each.  I used 1 1/2 shrimp plus one slice shitake and just a pinch of the rest.
The glass noodles give the rolls body.  Between the salad and the noodles, the sharp edges of the cabbage and carrots should be contained to avoid tearing the paper.
4.  Roll exactly the same way you would do egg rolls (cha gio).  Tuck and roll the bottom corner (the one closest to you, then when you get to the center, fold in the side corners like you would roll a burrito, then keep rolling until the end.
The rolling technique is something you get used to.  I had just rolled 40 egg rolls prior to making these so I was already used to the technique.

These were refreshingly amazing!  That sauce.. oh that sauce..  it makes the whole deal worth while.  I made 10 of these for happy hour and it took me about 30 minutes total from ingredient prep (including shrimp peeling) to finished sauce.  Not too bad, right?  This was also my first time (correctly) working with rice papers.  The secret is to make sure they are still slightly hard after the water bath.  Do not soak them or they will be very hard to work with.  I rather like the idea of make-as-you-need rolls compared to the-sheets-are-thawed-so-finish-or-throw-away-the-rest, meaning you make 40 at a time.
Sorry that's an over-use of hyphens.
Now that I've got the hang of it, I'm going to add fun things like avocado and chilis..
ooh imagine chipotle spring rolls....
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