Saturday, August 18, 2007

Vietnamese Popiah (Nem Cuon Dau Hu)

This is a simple and yet delicious fresh spring rolls using rice paper. The must-have ingredient is mint leaves, it gives a different flavour. To make this spring roll more attractive, place a few carrot shreds, a mushroom slice and a tofu slice on the rice paper prior to placing the lettuce. After rolling up, as rice paper had a see through effect, it is real colourful. To speed up the making of this Popiah, purchase a packet of Fried Been Hoon and Deep-fried Tofu from any vegetarian stall. Just prepare the raw vegetables and do the wrapping.

Preparation: 25 mins, Cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients (makes 18-20)

° 20 pieces rice paper (15cm in diameter)

Chilli Dipping Sauce
° 2 fresh red chilli padi, sliced
° 1 teaspoon sugar
° 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
° 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Spring Roll Filling

° 100g rice vermicelli, cooked according to packet’s instruction
° 1 small firm tofu/beancurd, cut into thin shreds
° 3-4 chinese dried mushroom, soaked and thinly sliced
° 25g carrot, peeled and shredded
° 75g beansprouts, trimmed and blanced
° 20 Chinese lettuce leaves
° 20-40 mint leaves
° 2 thin slices ginger or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
° 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
° 1 teaspoon sesame oil
° 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
° salt to taste

To prepare chilli dipping sauce
1. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

To prepare spring roll filling
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan. Stir-fry the tofu for 2 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan. Add the ginger or garlic and fry till aromatic. Throw in the mushroom and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Set aside
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan. Add the ginger or garlic and fry till aromatic. Add in the rice vermicelli. Off the heat, if desired. Season to taste with light soy sauce, sesame oil and toss well. Sprinkle some water for easier tossing, if needed. Set aside

To wrap popiah
1. Soften the rice paper sheet in warm water till soft or as per packet’s instruction. Do not over-moisten the rice paper sheet. If it is too brittle, lightly moisten it with some water or wipe with a damp cloth.
2. Place 1 sheet of rice paper on chopping board or plate. Place a small Chinese lettuce leaf in the centre and top with carrot, rice vermicelli, tofu, mushroom and mint leaves.
3. Roll up and arrange on a serving plate.
4. Serve immediately with the simple chilli dipping sauce. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent from drying if it is not consume immediately.

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