Monday, October 3

Duck Rice Paper 'Summer' Rolls

When the weather is hot, my body demands Asian inspired food. I've never been much of a salad eater but I do crave light, fresh tasting food when the mercury heads north. Food of this ilk just seems to come so easily to the Thai and Vietnamese people. The markets are awash with unidentifiable dew-wet herbs and leaves. Rice paper rolls are very common in Vietnam and you may find them in some Vietnamese restaurants.  Usually served chilled, they are soft, refreshing, tasty and healthy - I am genuinely surprised these have not taken the UK by storm.

I have called these summer rolls as 'spring' feels inappropriate and I am in denial that Autumn is already here - its my dish.....I'll call it what I like! You will need to visit an Asian store to get the dried rice paper and perhaps the rice vermicelli. As for the rest of the ingredients feel free to use what you please. Shrimp, chicken, shredded pork and tofu all work well, as would any number of shredded vegetables. Just don't skimp on the herbs. Oh, and these make fantastic party food - get your guests to make their own summer rolls, it will save you loads of prep time. Makes approx. 10 rolls:

Dried rice papers - 10x20cm (approx)
Rice vermicelli - 2 large nests
Carrot, finely shredded - 1 large
Spring onion, finely shredded - 1 bunch
Coriander, leaves and stems - 1 medium bunch
Fresh Mint, leaves only - 1 large handful
Thai sweet basil, leaves only - 1 large handful
Red chili, deseeded and finely shredded - 3
Duck - 1/2
Hoisin/sweet chilli sauce/fish sauce/soy sauce  - for dipping

Season and slow roast your duck first at 160c for 1.5 hours then for 30 mins at 220c to crisp. Remove from the pan and shred the meat off the bones with two forks. Blanch the vermicelli in boiling water as per the packet instructions then refresh in very cold water, drain and set aside. Prep all your veg and herbs and have in separate bowls in front of you along with the shredded duck and the vermicelli.

Dip a rice paper in warm water for 20 seconds to soften then carefully lay on a chopping board in front of you. Now starting with a small pile of vermicelli just off centre on the rice paper, pile on the veg, herbs and duck - remember you need to roll this up so show a little restraint. Roll up the summer roll as tight as you can without splitting the rice papers tucking in the ends to result in a roll approx 1 inch thick by 3 inches long. The rice paper should stick to itself so no additional 'glue' is required.  Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. 

The summer rolls will keep well in the fridge for a few days or can be eaten immediately. I like to serve this dish with a number of dips such as satay, sweet chilli, plum or hoisin - shop bought is probably the way to go unless you really want to go to town and make your own - if so...respect! 

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