Out of The Hat

Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary

It’s just like a Box of Cracker Jacks- Viet Salad Rolls


Because there is a surprise inside of these seemingly 0rdinary lunch rolls. They look mighty tasty, don`t they? Wish you were here now, don`t you? Well, I suppose I can stop torturing you now and get to the recipe. I kind of like bugging you, though, so can I get a little hint of how green with envy you are? Get it? It`s a salad roll, and you are green with envy. Meanies, all of you. No one ever laughs at my jokes. (Bet you feel a little bad for me now, don`t you?) Don`t worry, I`m not horribly put upon and oppressed- I do get to eat this, after all!DSC01952

After giving you a list of perfect ideas for sneaking salad into your life in a few more exciting ways in this awesome post, I thought I`d share one of my favorite solutions. I already included another blogger`s spin on Vietnamese rolls, called Gui Cuon (I may have misunderstood this, and this particular name applies only to a certain combination of ingredients I probably didn`t follow.) I know the kind I always get at friends` houses and restaurants has bean thread noodles, leafy stuff, and four shrimp neatly lined up at the top of the roll. But the idea here wasn`t to follow the standard! I wanted to make things a little more exciting.

I tossed around the idea of using balsamic vinegar and strawberries with romaine as the filling, but I had all of this lovely, fresh, and rarely bought seafood lying around. So why ignore such a rare culinary prize? So I switched tactics to include some wonderful sole (2 medium fillets) and a few pinches of fresh crab. I don`t think I can even remember the last time I had crab that wasn`t an imitation! Let me tell you, I often buy a bag of imitation crab and nibble on it, like it was seafood jerky. Great snack, let me tell you! But the real crab couldn`t be desrcribed in spell check approved English, because it was tres magnifique!

Because there is a surprise inside of these seemingly 0rdinary lunch rolls. Some special revamped Viet Summer rolls sauce ingredients:

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First, you`ll need to have some Spring Roll sheets. They are rather brittle blighters when dried, so you`ll want to store the package in a solid container. Do NOT leave them in the plastic sleeve, or they`ll get all beaten up. Just look at the picture below if you need evidence. Not pretty, my friends. It still made for a lovely lunch component though!

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The thing about your rice paper sheets is that you`ll need to wet them. Even though this video on Youtube showed the lady dunking hers in a huge bowl of water, I tried just sprinkling it on. I thought it was more delicate that way. In the end, this was stupid and left holes and puddles in my largely fry rice sheet. So I finally caved in and got a huge salad bowl, filled it with water, and dunked it in. Just like the lady in the video. Guess I should have listened to her, huh?

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Some basic ingredients! You`ll need to cook your fish and crab, unless it is so fresh and high quality that it is sushi grade, and therefore (arguably) safe to eat raw. If you are like other mere mortals and buy your groceries a few days before using them, cook `em. I just steamed the fish for a few minutes, then threw the crab in for the last few seconds. Crab shrivels up to almost nothing in almost no time while cooking. It is even worse than garlic that way!

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Now that all of our ingredients are safe to use, we can begin to assemble them. Like I show in the picture, you`ll want to pile your lettuce on the bottom. It is best to put some of your green onions on now, too. It is okay if they are longer than the lettuce, and will consequently stick out of your roll- that will make it look really cool when it`s all rolled up!

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After piling on the romaine, you can line up the seafood in a neat little row. Or you can randomly stick them under the lettuce in some areas, like I did. I just had so much fish, it was longer than the lettuce! After you have all of that assembled, you can squirt on some sri racha. I love sri racha. I stick it on my eggs every morning, and it is perfect for rice omelettes. (That`s the Japanese style of omelette making, folks. I know, because my Japanese teacher, friend, and manga obsession told me so in high school :D) If you can`t handle the heat, a line of salsa could work as well. I`ll be really impressed if you make a straight line using the salsa, though, as I was hard put to do that with the super smooth sri racha. And it comes with a tip for neatness. #can`t make straight lines

Now is where you roll it up, because the rice sheet stays wet and pliable for only so long. Can you imagine what a night mare it would be to try and re-dampen a rice sheet that is covered up in goodies and ingredients? I can`t really bear to think about it either. So, instead, why don`t you just go with me on this and get rolling! You fold these up rather like a burrito- you flip down the North and South side of the wrap so that it covers part of the filling, then you roll the whole thing up from the left side. You can do it, I believe in you!

DSC019401/4 tsp fish sauce, 1/8 tsp lime, 1/8 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp tamari ginger dressing.

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When I poured in the sesame oil and fish sauce, they made a yin yang symbol all by themselves! It was so amazing, I took about twenty pictures just to document that. Unfortunately, I knew no one would want to scroll through twenty pictures that are a little blurry, (This was the best as far as that goes!)  so I stuck with this one. But believe me, it was awesome!

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For a pretty garnish, you can cut up some spring onions to sprinkle on the top. Knives just smoosh the onions flat, so scissors were really the best tool for this job. I tried to place them in a straight line, which I completely failed at, because I thought it would look nice. My line may not have been perfect, but I think it still came out pretty well. Don`t you?

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I lot of work went into figuring out how to do all of this, but once I got the method down it was really easy! Adn once I got to eat this, it was even tastier. Don`t you love the play of shadows in this picture? I thought it turned out pretty splendid. I actually had decided my photo shoot was done by this point, but I just had to take a snap shot. The scene was begging me to, or why else would there have been that perfect little drop?

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This is what the end of a well satisfyed meal looks like. Pretty gorgeous still life, huh?DSC01956

So, what do you think of my picture recipe? Would you have preferred a fully written out version, or would you have liked to see both in the same post? Speaking of picture recipes, what do you think of these photos? In case you haven`t noticed, this is the first instance on this blog where any of the photos were taken by me. I`m actually a little impressed with my staging :) Sure, the lighting was terrible and the quality was blurry, but where can we go but up from here? Tell me what you think of the recipe, recipe presentation, photos, and anything else you can think of! I just love waking up and seeing the comments reminder all lit up by you amazing readers of mine! <3

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2 comments on “It’s just like a Box of Cracker Jacks- Viet Salad Rolls

  1. Pingback: February Posts | thegreatzambini's Blog

  2. Pingback: Food Adventures: Korean | The Great Zambini's Blog

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This entry was posted on January 29, 2013 by in Recipes, Allergies, Diets, Health and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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