Rice Paper Rolls (Lap Cheong and Kohlrabi)

February 2, 2011

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First of all let me say… GONG XI FA CAI!. In layman’s terms… happy chinese new year ya’ll! Now this post isn’t meant to be a chinese new year thang nor is this blog the place to seek out new cny recipes because *gasp*, I’ve pretty much looked past the coming holiday (shameless blog plug, check out last year’s offerings hehe). While everybody else was buzzing around me about what to cook, organising family gatherings and manically cleaning their house, I went on my everyday life and totally forgotten about it.

My family isn’t very traditional with the Chinese stuff having totally grown up in UK and Australia. Oh sure, we get together to eat with relos once in a blue moon but in the end, we’re all pretty blasé about it. All those holiday traditions and superstitions have no big bearing on our Australiana household.

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Not sure what all that blathering had to do with rice paper rolls but anyhoo! While I’m totally ambiguous to holidays, I’m all for embracing Asian food. I want to know it all. From learning the ins and out of a Malaysian kitchen to opening myself up to other Asian cuisines. Strangely I’m now enamoured with rice paper. Seriously fun to play with, kinda like funky cardboard. But of course this ingredient is essential in the Vietnamese staple, rice paper rolls.

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I was never fond of rice paper rolls. All those nutritional vege fillings, the lack of meat and fat and the burst of fresh coriander and mint was about as exciting as, oh, eating grass from my yard. But now bad habits are dying and suddenly the term ‘healthy-ish’ (trust me, it’s a real word) doesn’t seem so terrifying. For one thing, I don’t violently repulse at the sight of carrots and exploding fresh herbs in my mouth is now deemed G-rated fun.

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One thing that I hate with making rice paper rolls? Rolling. I seem to be physically incapable of neatly tucking, folding and rolling anything into a neat little parcel. My failed ‘practice’ rolls were a sad looking bunch – torn skins, loose billowy sausages, saggy ends… I only started getting the hang of it after The Mother stepped in to assist. Skilled hands I have none.

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But assembling issues aside, these make for an awesome bite to eat. And you could use anything you want to fill these babies with. For these ones, I filled them with whatever I had in my fridge – Chinese sausage, fresh mint leaves, julienned carrot and omelette, lettuce, dried shrimp, garlic and kohlrabi (which is like a funky purple or green turnip radishy thingy). Whatever you fill them with, a dipping sauce is a must, especially if it’s of a hoisin and chilli persuasion.

One last tip – don’t overfill your roll. As a wise man once said, nobody likes a burst sausage.

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Sad sausage


Rice Paper Rolls (Lap Cheong, Carrot and Kohlrabi) with Hoisin Dipping Sauce


Makes approx. 12 rolls using 20-22cm round rice paper

Ingredients

2-3 Chinese sausages (lap cheong)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 Tbl caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a dash of salt and pepper
40g dried shrimp, processed to fine pieces
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbl of oil
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
Oakleaf lettuce, leaves picked and washed
Mint leaves, washed
Round rice paper rolls (up to 22cm diameter)


Prepare the ingredients for the rolls:

Place chinese sausages in a pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from water, dry and fry in a frypan until browned all over. Set aside to drain and cool. Slice on a diagonal and set aside.

In the same pan, add the julienned kohlrabi and sprinkle the sugar over it. Sauté over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the kohlrabi is lightly golden. Set aside to cool completely.

Heat up a small frypan then pour in the beaten egg mixture in 2 or 3 batches. Cook on one side for a minute then flip to brown the other side. You should have about 2 or 3 thin omelettes. Set aside to cool, then julienne the omelettes.

Heat up the oil in a small pan and sauté the garlic until light and golden. Add the processed dried shrimp and fry until golden. Drain well and set aside to cool.


To assemble the rolls (slamming picture guide at the bottom)

Set up a bowl of cold water. Cut 6 sheets in half. These will be laid on top of whole sheets for extra strength and thickness.

Dip a whole rice paper sheet and one semi-circle sheet in cold water unti slightly softened. Lay the whole sheet out flat then place a semi-circle sheet on top of the whole sheet horizontally on the bottom half.

Lay out 2-3 whole mint leaves on the rice paper in a line about 2 – 2.5cm from the bottom. Place 3 chinese sausage pieces on top of the mint leaves. Top that with omelette, carrot, kohlrabi, a sprinkle of the sautéed dried shrimp then some lettuce leaf.

From the bottom up, roll the spring roll making sure it’s tightly tucked in. If you wish you can fold in the sides but make sure that it’s rolled tight. Set aside under a damp paper towel while you assemble the rest (this will prevent it from drying).

Serve immediately with hoisin dipping sauce (recipe below). If you must store them, wrap cover them top and bottom with damp paper towels but ideally, these should be polished off quick smart.


Hoisin Dipping Sauce
Ingredients

125ml of hoisin sauce
60ml of water
squeeze of fresh lime
1 tsp of chilli sauce (optional or to taste)
roasted crushed peanuts
red chilli, deseeeded and sliced

Method

In a saucepan over low heat, whisk together the hoisin sauce, water, fresh lime juice and chilli sauce until warmed through and combined. Leave to cool completely.

Garnish with chopped peanuts and chilli and serve with rice paper rolls. Store in refrigerator in a clean jar.

Print these recipes.


Picture Guide!

Ok folks, I know that reading instructions is one thing but seeing some awesome visuals is so much better. If my words sounds like hogwash to you then maybe these slamming photos will guide you (however crappy they are). All hail my supreme blogging skills of balancing a chunky camera with rolling (as well as my green chopping board). And yes, in some of these photos, I do have a third hand. He’s very lovely.

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Lay a rice paper half over a whole sheet horizontally on the bottom half


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On goes the mint leaves…


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Followed by the good stuff (i.e. sausage and egg)


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More good stuff…


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Cap off with the lettuce. Ready to get rolling?


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‘Tuck’ in the filling as you start rolling…


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…so you end up with this. From here, fold over the sides, keeping the filling tucked neatly.


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Roll roll roll!


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Nearly there…


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Tada!


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacq February 8, 2011 at 05:31

funky cardboard LOL! I like my rice paper rolls with prawn but I've never tried them with lap cheong before, looks good though!

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thang@noodlies February 6, 2011 at 05:00

Yum, love a good rice roll, especially in this weather. I'm more used to the Vietnamese version, but your version looks great, especially with the sliced carrot. yum!

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Simon@theheartoffood February 6, 2011 at 04:48

Half sheet of rice paper as well? Is that just for a strength thing or a textural one as well?

These look yummy. Make a similar sort of thing fairly often at home.

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angie February 5, 2011 at 15:38

I've always quite particular with the ingredients in a Vietnamese rice paper roll but I don't mind the sound of yours at all =) Yum yum

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@bellyrumbles February 5, 2011 at 02:04

They look fantastic. I am actually a big fan of fresh spring rolls.

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YaYa February 4, 2011 at 13:02

These look so delicious, perfect for our sweltering summer, I love the combination of herbs and other goodies all wrapped up in an easy to eat bundle. Never thought about adding kohlrabi to it though, intriguing!

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catty February 3, 2011 at 22:27

Gong xi fa chai!! your rice paper rolls look great, I looooove summer rolls viet style but these remind me more of malaysian poh piah! yummmm!

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Jenny @ M & M February 3, 2011 at 11:25

Hahaha you're hilarious! If you want the less 'grass' based rice paper rolls, you should try bo bia, which is pretty much the Vietnamese version of popiah and…actually a lot like this little one you've created here ha. The only thing missing is fried tofu slices (I know, I know, that's not fatty), stir fried jicama along with the carrots (okay, this is a vegie too…oops), crushed peanuts and FRIED shallot oil. It's fantastic, you've got to give it a go. I tried making the actual popiah wrapper but that didn't work out too well hmm…

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Sarah - For the Love of Food February 3, 2011 at 11:22

I love cold rolls and really love the freshness and the zingy herby thing going on. I used to make them all the time then went off doing it and had forgotten about it – your fillings with the sausage and kohlrabi has me inspired to bring out the papers and warm water again :)

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Paula February 3, 2011 at 09:23

A few days ago I made spring rolls and it was delicious so I`m sure that your rolls are tasty too :)

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Susan February 3, 2011 at 05:37

I just made some of these on the weekend. Mine only had chicken and vegetables in them though. I love the idea of the sausage and egg though. Might have to try that next time.

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pickyin@LifeIsGreat February 2, 2011 at 04:50

I was contemplating making ngoh hiang this CNY but these rolls are much healthier. Great step by step rolling instructions too. Gong Xi Fah Chai Karen, have a good one!

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Peter G February 2, 2011 at 04:18

These look great…the lap cheong is a great idea!

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mlle délicieuse February 2, 2011 at 02:52

I grew up in Sydney but somehow my mother managed to completely brainwash me into being rather Chinese. So much so that I intend on inflicting the same type of treatment on my kids.

Um, pass me one of those delicious rice paper rolls while I ponder that, yes?

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penny aka jeroxie February 2, 2011 at 02:35

YUm! Never thought of using lap cheong…

Gong Xi Fa Cai to you too!

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Muriel February 1, 2011 at 22:56

Wow your photos are beautiful!!! I found your blog via foodgawker and love it!

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KayB February 1, 2011 at 22:23

Rice paper rolls are my favourite thing to make for dinner during this ridiculous summer heat! But I’ve never tried using a second rice paper half, I must try this (I have a habit of overfilling mine!). Thanks for the tip.

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sweet road February 1, 2011 at 18:55

I love making these, they are my summer go-to!

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joey@FoodiePop February 1, 2011 at 17:45

Looks beautiful! Love the step-by-step pics.

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Helen l grabyourfork February 1, 2011 at 16:34

I love rice paper rolls – always perfect in the heat of summer. Have never tried these with lap cheong before though. Sounds tasty!

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