Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jade: Bitemycaiguon

I went to Chinatown to pick up some stuff for a dish I was bringing to my friend's place. It was meant to be a potluck and I got a text from her saying "we have lots of curry, so anything but''...and the thing when you're making food for lots of people is, it has to be something easy and fun..and in this case portable. I wasn't about to braise a pork leg for 5 hours and attempt to cart that around because by the time that was done, I would be so exhausted and just give the dinner party a miss altogether. So anyway, filled my basket with groceries, brought it to the counter and realized I didn't bring my wallet...You always hear about this but you don't realize how mortifying it actually is until it happens to you. Finally managed to pay for it, and for the first time, the normally aloof shop girl came alive. She saw my basket and realized I'd be making a dish from her country~Vietnam. There was so much animation as she gave me her recipe for it, throwing in some free chives as she reminded me how important it was to get a good balance of sweet, salty and sour. I love how food brings complete strangers together..

Cai Guon~Vietnamese summer rolls [ To the lady in Chinatown, this is for you ;) I'm sad I couldn't find mint and basil too]

1 pack rice paper

1 shallow dish water

1 small packet bean threads/ dong fen, boiled to soften, tossed in a few drops of sesame oil and 1 tbsp of the dipping sauce shown below
Prawns boiled and halved lengthwise
Shredded carrots
Shredded cucumber
Shredded salad leaves [ You could use just lettuce, I used mixed leaves because the colours were pretty]
Shredded mint or basil [ I think this would've made a huge difference flavour wise so please don't leave it out. I had to because I couldn't find any last minute :(]

Dipping sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp sugar
juice of one lime
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 stalk spring onion, thinly sliced

1. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce, reserving 1 tbsp to flavour the bean threads
*Try to work on a non stick surface. I used my silpat
2. Take a sheet of rice paper and dunk it in the dish of water for about 10-20 seconds, make sure the edges are submerged or it'll be a bit stiff to roll
3. Shake it to get rid of excess water, it'll still be a bit stiff, but it will soften while you pile on the ingredients so by the time you're ready to roll, it'll be just right
4. Take your prawns, I used 2 per roll, and place them red side down. This way you'll see that lovely orangey red through the translucent rice paper
5. Add some dong fen, carrots, cucumber and lettuce. Don't be'll break the wrapper
6. Take the edge that's furthest away from you, bring it towards you, tucking in any excess, fold in the sides and gently roll it up. I just found it easier to get a tighter, neater roll this way. Also the excess skin ends up at the bottom so it doesn't cover up the prettiness within the roll
7. Slice in half diagonally, take a piece, dunk it in the dipping sauce, pop the whole thing in your wait...for the explosion of freshness and flavours;)


  1. I tried that in KL. Didn't really think it was great. I think I prefer our popiah...or their fried version.

  2. hahaha..this one healthier maa:P