Baby It’s Cold Outside

There is a thick, dense fog outside, it’s been raining for a couple of days, and it’s still cold out here in Nova Scotia; at least it has stopped snowing. I do love this province, it is absolutely gorgeous; the only thing that really makes me miss home though, is the lack of authentic, flavourful and good ethnic food. The Chinese food scene is dismal, but I think we’ve finally found a place that gets close to the flavours that we’re used to; Indian food we make ourselves at home, Thai food; good luck, same goes for Vietnamese dishes.

My husband should thank his lucky stars that he’s married to a foodie; I would if I were him. I know most people like to curl up with a nice hot bowl of chili, or soup, or something equally as amazing on a cold, rainy evening, but not me; give me a bowl of ice cream, chilled soup, or my absolute favourite Vietnamese salad wraps. Mmmm, I’m drooling now. They are so easy to make, and you can get as creative as you’d like with them. I usually do plain salad wraps when I’m training, where I just take a bunch of different greens and wrap them in the rice paper and pack enough for each meal on the go, they’re portable, and yummy. If I want to make them into a simple and light meal however, I’ll pack them full of veggies (whatever I have on hand), chicken, and vermicelli noodles, and serve them up with a spicy peanut sauce; they also go over great at potlucks! I don’t really have a definite recipe for this, I just gather all of the ingredients that I need and make them until I run out of something vital, like the noodles.

Vietnamese Salad Wraps

Protein of your choice. Traditionally you get these at restaurants made with prawns, we always have chicken at home, so I just use that.

Chicken breast, cooked, sliced and quickly sautéed with soy sauce, hoison sauce, chili pepper flakes, fish sauce and some pepper.

2-3 bundles of vermicelli noodles (you can do more or less depending on how many people you’re feeding, when I use

3 bundles we can get about 12 decent sized wraps)

Rice paper wraps

Carrots, julienned ( I had some amazing purple carrots from the farmers market that looked beautiful in these, and were so sweet!)

Spinach, chopped

Cucumbers, julienned

Zucchini, julienned

I also had some broccoli that was in danger of going bad soon, so I chopped that up, sautéed it and used it as well

Warm water in a pan large enough to hold a sheet of rice paper

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Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the directions on the package, drain, rinse with cold water, and then let sit in a small amount of cold water so that they don’t stick together when you’re working.

Place one sheet of rice paper in the pan with warm water and let soak until it becomes soft and pliable (about a minute or so)

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Pull the sheet out gently, grasping by either end of the top and lay on a clean, dry plate.

Start layering your ingredients into the middle of the sheet, like you would with a burrito.

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Fold up the bottom half of the sheet, and then the top. Then roll the rest into a tight package. I found this site as well that you may find useful.

Voila! You have a delicious salad wrap ready to go. Continue the steps until you’ve made as many as you need, or have run out the ingredients at hand.

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Peanut Sauce

1 cup natural low sodium peanut butter *you can use regular pb as well, I just like using the natural stuff*

1 tsp sesame oil (optional. I used to use this all the time, but I haven’t found it in Superstore or Sobey’s out here in NS, and I haven’t made it to the Asian supermarket yet, so I’ve just been omitting it altogether, and it tastes fine!)

1 Tbsp Hoison sauce

2-3 Cloves of garlic, depending on your taste, finely diced

1 ½ Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Chili pepper flakes (as many as you’d like!)

Approx ½ cup of warm water.

Directions
mix all ingredients, except water, together in a bowl, mix until incorporated. Slowly start adding the warm water until you get the consistency that you like. We like it a bit on the medium thick side, so I usually end up using ½ cup of water plus a bit more, it’s really up to you. Mix well, and adjust to taste. Serve with your salad wraps

Also, before you see the next photo, I want to let you know that it’s absolutely impossible to make peanut sauce not look like…well, what it looks like.

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