The sweltering heat experienced in Orange summer for the past few days made me crave for nothing but frozen Coke and light meals.

Me, light meals? Seriously?

Unfortunately growing in Malaysia hasn’t built my tolerance to hot weather. Furthermore, I had air conditioner in Malaysia and my place in Orange isn’t furnished with one. When I moved here, I was told you don’t need one here. Are you kidding me?

Anyway to get my way around this, I was looking for every excuse possible to open my fridge, taking advantage of the precious chilled air and kept cooking and baking activities to a minimum.  Probably not the smartest idea to keep opening and closing the fridge door (as it consumes more power), but this was the only way that I can think of! (Plus I have lost confidence in my $20 dingy table fan to beat a heatwave like this!)

When it comes to meal time I was dreading.  Any cooking that requires long stove time is a no for me – I don’t want more heat released into my house, do I?  Hence, salad it is!

But Adam, my visiting friend, who somehow managed to have cravings under such circumstance wanted Vietnamese salad rolls. Man, I guess he wasn’t joking when he likened himself to a pregnant chick when it comes to food! So Vietnamese salad rolls it is!

{Rice paper wrapper – feels like plastic when it is dry}

Traditionally the fillings combination is with shredded pork and prawns which requires some time to cook the pork; my preferred combination, however, is prawns and omelette slices. While it may seem like there’s not much to cook except for boiling the prawns and making an omelette, considerable efforts is required to put together the fillings and not a recipe that you can skim on using a small amount of cutleries (so expect a little more washing more than usual – but the good thing is most of the cutleries aren’t oily).

Vietnamese Prawn & Egg Salad Rolls

(Adam’s recipe)

Serves 3 people – conservatively 4 rolls per person

Ingredients – Rolls:

  • 4 eggs
  • Lots of white and black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 500g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • A handful of bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • A packet of mesclun salad
  • Vermicelli
  • Rice paper wrappers
  • A kettle of boiled water (to wet the rice paper wrappers)

Ingredients – Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsps crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • Water

Phase 1: Cook

  1. Beat eggs with pepper and salt. Cook in a small over low heat until well done, turning once. Once the omellete is cool enough to handle, slice thinly and set aside.
  2. Boil prawns in a medium pot until cook. Set aside.
  3. Soak vermicelli in hot water until soft (no more than apprx 5 minutes). Drained and set aside.
  4. Soak bean sprouts in cold water. Drained when ready to eat. This is to help the bean sprouts staying plump and succulent.
  5. To make the dipping sauce, combine hoisin sauce, peanut butter, chilli flakes and 2 tbsps of water in a small pot and cook over low-medium heat. Stir to avoid sticking at the bottom, add more water to achieve your desired consistency – my preferred consistency is like ketchup. Set aside.

{The dipping sauce is a must!}

Phase 2: Salad Platter

  1. Slice carrot and cucumber into matchsticks.
  2. Arrange carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, mint, coriander and salad leaves onto a platter (picture below).

Phase 3: Assembly

  1. Fill a wide shallow dish, large enough to submerge a rice paper wrapper, with boiling hot water.
  2. Evenly submerge a rice paper wrapper in hot water.  Remove  the wrapper IMMEDIATELY as soon as the whole surface is submerged in the water and onto a flat plate.
  3. Working quickly, arrange the prawns, eggs and salad on the wrapper (see photo below) – leave about an inch gap away from the edge. Just remember not to overstuff the roll with too much filling – I must admit I’ve gone overzealous with the vermicelli, like Carla in Top Chef – remember the dim sum episode? But don’t worry, like pancakes making, be prepared for the imperfect first – a roll “bursting” with fillings and bean sprouts poking out of the wrapper.

Phase 4: Roll Formation

  1. Fold the edge of the wrapper (where you leave an inch gap) over the filling.
  2. Holding it firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper inwards to conceal the sides.
  3. Then roll the entire pile up to close the top.

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