Lemongrass Pork & Prawn Salad Rolls with Fresh herbs and Homemade Peanut Sauce! First Attempt

I have literally had rice paper circles in my pantry for two years. No joke. I have wanted to make salad rolls forever but have always been intimidated. Until my friend Nyky posted some DIY salad rolls and homemade peanut sauce on her Facebook page… Now was the time to try. Not only could I ask her for her peanut sauce recipe, but I could get advice on how to roll them! (Make all you fillings the same size for ease of rolling.)

I love Vietnamese food. It has to be one of my all time favorites… I have made a decent veggie Pho before which I will try to revisit soon. But basically I am a total noob in this style of cooking. But I plan to change that.

Also vegetarian folk. You could easily sub tofu for the protein. Or just add a slew of extra vegetables. Purple cabbage thinly sliced is a nice addition, as is pickled daikon, cilantro, some peeps like red bell pepper and/or mango etc..

So for now this is a dish I like for the most part. But one day I hope to make it more my own. This is my first attempt so not too shabby and pretty darn tasty. And I did put tapioca noodles instead of the more common vermicelli as well as the jalepenos which are more of a Banh Mi filling. Anyway hope you enjoy. Will definitely be making another version of these in the coming weeks.

Ingredients:

  • Rice circles (keep on hand til final assembly stage)
  • Tapioca noodles or rice vermicelli (cook per package, rinse with water, coat with some oil and set aside.
  • Lemongrass pork (cooked and cooled – recipe below for marinading )
  • Prawns (can be plain or simply chili flakes or lemongrass – whichever you prefer – cooked and cooled)
  • Fresh mint leaves (rinsed and pat dry)
  • Fresh basil or Thai basil leaves (rinsed and pat dry)
  • Scallions sliced the same length as carrots (aka same length you want your rolls)
  • Mung Bean Sprouts rinsed and pat dry (optional – I didn’t have any this time so left them out)
  • 1 Carrot julienned
  • 1 large or 2 small jalepenos julienned (optional re: affinity for spice)
  • Nước Mắm (the sweetened dipping kind of fish sauce –  not the straight up anchovy juice – fish sauce. This is to soak aka “lazy pickle” the carrots/jalepenos – note I haven’t tried the recipe in the fish sauce link yet but it looks good to me! Perhaps when I attempt a vermicelli bowl I will give it a whirl… I used this stuff from a local Vancouver place that worked nicely Little Saigon Fish Sauce )

Note: for vegetarians you could pickle the veg in rice vinegar and coconut palm sugar

Lazy Pickled Carrots & Jalepenos:

Wash and peel carrots. Julienne and stick in a bowl with enough dipping style fish sauce to cover. Wash, and slice sides off jalepeno (to avoid the seeds). Julienne and put in with the carrots to soak in the fridge. When ready to use just drain out the fish sauce.

Note: one day I will conquer doing the real thing. I tried once and failed. The ratio of fish sauce was just all wrong. That said, with a recipe that has so many steps. I think it is OK to cut corners to save time and sanity. Again when I try to make a vermicelli bowl, or maybe Banh Mi, I will give pickling my own another try!

Lemongrass Pork: (can totally sub chicken – but if you do – go for chicken thighs not breast – better flavour)

  • Pork chops (I used two but if you are making lots of rolls make more)
  • Lemongrass Marinade (I really liked this recipe I found… Kudos to the creator!)
  • Oil (I use olive oil for everything even my stirfrys. I just don’t like conventional oils, and I find coconut oil too distracting from the ingredients but use what you like best – for vegetarians skip the fish sauce!)

Marinate the pork chops for at least a few hours if not overnight. Heat a pan on the stove to high heat with some oil. Turn on the fan otherwise you will set off a smoke detector. Wait for the oil to be hot then sear the the meat til getting brown and almost black in some bits. Turn and cook the other side. Drizzle some of the marinade and let it sizzle and get all charred and looking like it came off a grill and not just a regular old stove top. Set aside.

Prawns:

  • Fresh or thawed deveined prawns (however many you want)
  • Chili flakes or steal a bit of the lemongrass marinade
  • Oil

Leave the tails on. Cook on high heat til done. Set aside. Cool. Remove tails.

Homemade Peanut Sauce:

This recipe came from a good pal of mine Nyky. Soon as she has her blog up and running I shall edit and add the link! I altered it a tiny bit but will mark with * so you can do either version.

  • 1/4 cup organic chunky natural peanut butter* (original calls for Adam’s smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce (I think I will double next time, but I ran out! My bottle was almost empty)
  • 2 teaspoons dark* soy sauce (original doesn’t specify so use whatever kind you prefer! And I may have done more like 3 teaspoons as I was eyeballing it)
  • Lots of minced garlic (I did 3 cloves but I think I will add more next time)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (I think I added an extra 1/2 tablespoon but I like it spicy)
  • 1/4 cup warm water to make it dippy
  • 1 tablespoon dipping style fish sauce* (not called for in original and can skip if veggie)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar* (not called for in original, if I had the extra Hoisin to add I would probably leave this out)

UPDATE: I  now add some kecap manis and fish sauce to the mix! Oh so many layers of flavour mmmmmm. And I make about 3 times the amount haha. It’s soooo gooood. I don’t really follow the amounts just kind of add it all in a blender or hand blender safe container and go for it. Adjust to taste! 

Put everything in a blender and push that button til it looks like sauce. Or put in a tall container and hand blend til it looks like sauce. YAY we made our own sauce!  SSSAAAAUUUUCCCCCEEEE.

Note: I ran out of Hoisin. I literally had 1 tablespoon left in the bottle. We LOVE our Hoisin sauce, it’s akin to ketchup in this house. And well ketchup is actually Sriracha. We are a little confused but happy nonetheless. Blah blah blah. My actual point is –  I think I would double the Hoisin next time which I noted above in brackets. But that may be because I just REALLY LOVE HOISIN – so you taste it and you decide. Stay tuned for my version of a ginger scallion noodle bowl down the line. I basically use half a bottle just on myself when I make that dish.

Assembly:

Soak rice circles in warm/hot water til softened. Place on parchment (I found this helped to avoid sticking). Put whatever assortment of the above inside and fold like a burrito. These things are delicate though so be ginger with your fingers.

Serve with peanut sauce. Obviously 😉

But you could also put out an extra bowl of Nước Mắm for dipping too! Crunchy Salad Rolls go best with dipping fish sauce. Those have spring rolls inside instead of the protein component. Lots more work but one day I shall attempt.

YUMMMMM

Marinated Pork searing and charring nicely in a super hot pan! Broiled or grilled taste on the stove top!

Marinated Pork searing and charring nicely in a super hot pan! Broiled or grilled taste on the stove top!

Lemongrass prawns getting the same hot pan treatment

Lemongrass prawns getting the same hot pan treatment

Tapioca noodles are a nice alternative to rice vermicelli. Both taste great. These have a slightly softer and chewier texture I find. You want to coat in oil to prevent sticking.

Tapioca noodles are a nice alternative to rice vermicelli. Both taste great. These have a slightly softer and chewier texture I find. You want to coat in oil to prevent sticking.

Fresh scallion, Thai basil and mint alongside

Fresh scallion, Thai basil and mint alongside “pickled” carrots and jalepeno.

Proteins waiting to be all rolled up.

Proteins waiting to be all rolled up.

Rice circles and hot water bowl.

Rice circles and hot water bowl.

Mmm homemade peanut sauce! Thanks Nyky for the recipe!!

Mmm homemade peanut sauce! Thanks for the recipe Nyky!!

I ended up eating 4 of these throughout the evening. So addictive!

I ended up eating 4 of these throughout the evening. So addictive!

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