I have another new weapon in my
OK, so on the one hand this gluten-free stuff sounds like one of those obnoxious trends of the kind which could actually be the cause of nausea and fatigue for those
But I love to experiment with cooking; my kitchen is my laboratory, and so I found the prospect of rethinking my cooking and eating habits rather exciting. And we are fortunate enough to have a virtual Aladdin's Cave of a supermarket around the corner from our place, run by a lovely Indian-Ghanaian couple and their children, and where I can find everything from tamarind paste to pickled green mango to fresh taro root. When we moved here I made a promise to myself to cook with a new ingredient every month, so we've had banana blossom salad and jackfruit seed curry, and now I have the perfect opportunity to experiment with stuff like sweet potato noodles and teff flour. So with the beginning of April and an end to the over-indulgence of my extended birthday celebrating (parts one and two), I decided to go cold turkey for a while.
Yesterday we made Vietnamese salad rolls. I initially thought I'd share the whole recipe here since I altered some of the ingredients from that link, but then I realised as someone who doesn't really follow recipes I'm actually too lazy to write the whole thing. (I don't own measuring cups and usually just throw stuff in a bowl, adjusting the quantities until I like the taste; for me it's always like 'a handful' of this, or 'until it feels like' that, so it's kinda tedious to write exact measurements). I can say that this recipe is a pretty decent one and we were really happy with the results and the authenticity of the taste. I recommend you use not only both the mint and cilantro, but also a healthy quantity of basil (the Thai variety, if you can get it), because the fresh herbs really make this dish. Also, we added both daikon radish and red bell pepper to the vegetable fillings. Finally, in my opinion there's no replacement for good sriracha sauce to provide the heat in the peanut dipping sauce.
Although working with the rice paper takes some getting used to, they were incredibly fun to make because it's very hands on. See?
|H making a mess in the kitchen, just the way we like it.|
The rolling technique takes a little practice, (the trick being to top your veg and herb combination with another thin layer of rice vermicelli before folding), but after the first four or five you get the hang of it. The rice wrappers are so thin that the colours and textures of the filling create a beautiful lacy effect on the completed rolls. I was lucky I managed to get any pictures, because they smelled amazing and it was hard not to nibble compulsively.
We ate our salad rolls while sitting on the sofa watching old episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and maybe it was the magic of those aromatherapeutic herbs, but all suddenly seemed right with the world.
You see?, I tell myself. All it takes to make you step back into joy is a few Vietnamese salad rolls, an old episode of Star Trek, and the arms of your beloved around you. So whatever is in store for us in the near or distant future, life rightthisveryminute is not so bad, after all.
*Seriously Gwyneth, I understand why you're having panick attacks, I really do. I can relate to the stress of trying to manage day in and out.... Oh, wait.