This how to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
I arrived at around 8 am and the list was on the prep bench. The kitchen was already hot and breakfasts were leaving the pass carried on the strong forearms of the wait staff who were administering coffee & advice to those waiting in line that it would be a 20 minute wait before they got a table. Out on the terrace the sun was in full flight over the sails of the Opera House. Saturday mornings were very hectic. Along with a full restaurant for breakfast and lunch there were the Saturday night functions to complete. It was going to be a very long day.
The prep list consisted of about 10 catering jobs. All of them had rice paper rolls. 100,180,500, 50, 80, 100, 300, 25, 30, 150. Unfortunately I was on this section today. The prep list read…10 functions today with a total of 1515 rolls. Yep, you read that correctly, thousands of rice paper rolls. One shift rolling and the next serving them from a makeshift kitchen in someone’s garage. Its a glamorous job. They have to be rolled and ready to go by the time the vans start to load out and leave along with any other canapé you may have on your list. So I want you to remember this when you start to roll these ones for yourself. At the time I worked for Rockpool catering, and I’ve used this recipe ever since (thanks Neil Perry). Its a special recipe, they have more inside of them than most rolls, making them extra good!
This is how to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls. Yours will be a breeze- of course you do get into a bit of a rhythm after about the 100th, (or perhaps it’s a coma) put aside about an hour to roll 30-50 of them, not counting vegetable prep time.
- 2 cups bean sprouts approximately
- 2 carrots julienned
- 2 cups green papaya julienned or substitute Chinese cabbage
- 1 cup red capsicum julienned
- 1 bunch coriander leaves picked stalks and roots reserved
- 1 bunch mint leaves picked
- 1 bunch Vietnamese mint (picked this is very pungent and really makes a difference to the rolls)
- 1 cup shallots - green onions of finely chopped u can use Spanish onion if you prefer
- 1 cup peanuts crushed roasted unsalted and some for garnish (you can buy them in Asian stores)
- 1/2 cup fried shallots - Asian stores, these are crunchy
- 100 gm round rice paper 1 packet
- 100 gm rice noodles small packet
- 375 ml lemon Juice or 4 lemons and 2 limes squeezed. This should make about 1 1/2- 2 cups of juice
- 150 gm Palm sugar 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 125 ml fish sauce 1/2 cup
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 cm ginger grated
- 1 bunch coriander well washed- roots and stems left over from above
- 2 whole red chillis
*The measurements are in cups. These can be any sized cups. Its up to you, just add the ingredients in balanced amounts
*Don't skip the coriander roots and stems in the dressing this contributes to the flavour in a major way
*Cut the veg and make the dressing a day ahead. This will save you time the day you roll. Add all the herbs together in a sealed container. Store the vegetables sliced and ready in a container with a lid. Same as the dressing.
*Don't soak the rice papers too long and they get soggy and dont stick together. If they look all white and water logged they are no good. When they come out of the hot water they will still be a bit firm. they will soften on the tea towel. Make sure the water is as warm to hot as your hands can stand.