July 19, 2011

Vietnamese style spring rolls

there are so many things to do and so little time.

could it be because i am now past 45 that everything seems more urgent? there used to be a time when i wasn t in such a hurry. or is it only because of this day and age we live in now? everything needs to be done more quickly, and a lot more of it in less time. the need also, to be connected with, well, everything if at all possible.

and here i am, blogging, about food, about my jewellery, twittering or tweeting (whatever it s called now), facebooking (is that a word?) etc.

and yet i m loving it. i love being able to see what the rest of the world is up to. although the news, more often than not, isn t great. it s keeping up with the little things; a friend celebrating her 23rd anniversary being married to the same man, another friend having a baby, still another becoming a grandmother. seeing my son growing up and slowly putting one step in front of the other into his own life and new experiences.

i also love having this medium to learn new things, about other cultures... naturally, about other food cultures.

and how it s important sometimes, to stand back, breathe, and slow down. taking time to prepare something you know is just going to be good. clean and pure.

i was inspired by a recipe i found in White on Rice Couple for Vietnamese spring rolls. being half Japanese and half Belgian myself, any amalgamation of flavors always intrigues me... so i had a go.



2 chicken breasts (skinned and boned)

for the marinade:
1 thumbsize piece of ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, grated
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of yuzu juice, or lime juice

1 small cucumber, cut into matchsticks about 5cm long
3 carrots, peeled, cut into fine matchsticks about 5cm long
5 stalks of spring onion, cut into 3cm pieces, lightly blanched
100 gr mungbean sprouts, lightly blanched
2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into petals
some iceberg lettuce leaves, torn into manageable pieces
a handful of mixed herbs (i used coriander, mint and dill), roughly chopped

for the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of tahini or toasted sesame paste
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 very small chilli, finely chopped

sheets of Vietnamese rice paper


1. begin by mixing the soy sauce, yuzu or lime juice, honey, garlic and ginger for the marinade.
2. make some diagonal cuts in both sides of the chicken breasts and marinate for about an hour or longer if you like
3. prepare all the vegetables and place them in different bowls
4. heat the oven to maximum and place a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil in the oven to also heat up
5. once everything is prepared, place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and grill/bake for about 15-20 minutes
6. once ready, slice into strips and keep warm
7. mix all the ingredients for the dipping sauce, let it down with a little water if too thick, it needs to be a little runny
8. the rice sheets just need to soften in some water (not more than 20 seconds) and then filled with whatever one fancies from the vegetable assortment and the chicken
9. roll, dip and eat

again, in this stressful world, taking a moment to stop and savour the surrounding air, or in this case, experiencing wonderfully new flavors, has become very important to me.

and i m taking my time...

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