Rice Paper Wraps (with tempeh)
If you are familiar with the East End of London, then you are probably also familiar with the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants in what is known around here as the Pho Mile. If you have children, in our case a toddler, then you are even more familiar with the difficulty of leaving the house, ever! So, in the spirit of making lemonade, we have embraced not leaving the house, ever, and I have decided to bring a little bit of the Pho Mile home. I have put together a broad recipe for a rice paper wrap that takes its cue from the flavours we so enjoyed once-upon-a-time.
As with many of the dishes that we prepare, the "authentic originals" serve as guides rather than rules, and we borrow what we like from different cuisines to combine ingredients, textures and flavours that we enjoy. A little less tradition and a little more "pho".
In this recipe we used tempeh, an Indonesian fermented soybean product that comes in blocks. We sliced, marinated and then cooked the tempeh to get the texture and flavour we were after. We also used shiritaki noodles, which are a gelatinous noodle made from the konjac yam and are very low calorie, but have a texture that is very similar to rice noodles. They generally do not require any cooking. I think adding tempeh and shiritaki noodles makes for a delicious combination, if I may say so myself, but by all means do what you gotta do to make these wraps your own.
We used the peanut butter sauce from our Stirred Not Fried 2 Ways recipe as our dipping suace, and have included it below.
Ingredients: (12 rolls, 2 hungry adults)
- Rice paper wraps
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 1 X red bell pepper
- 1 X small bunch of picked coriander leaves
- 1 X small bunch of picked mint leaves
- 2 X packets of shiritaki noodles (170g net weight), or you could just use rice noodles
- 1 X block of tempeh (200g), or you could use a very firm tofu
- Tamari or soy sauce
Method: (See video below)
- Slice your tempeh into 1 cm slices and put in a dish/bowl to marinate with the tamari. Make sure that all pieces are well coated on each side. Marinate each side for a few minutes (once done, you can use what is left from the marinade in your peanut dip). While the tempeh is marinating, preheat a griddle pan or skillet so that it is very hot, which should take as long as the marinating time.
- Place the tempeh slices onto the pan and allow to cook on each side for 2-5 minutes, they are their best when charred, but not burnt.
- While the tempeh is cooking, slice, pick and prep your other ingredients.
- You will need a bowl (a deep frying pan also works) that is large enough for you to submerge a rice paper wrap into. Rice paper wraps can be tricky to use, and once they are soft they become very sticky. So be sure that your bowl/ pan is big enough for the wrap to lay into it flat.
- Drain and rinse your shiritaki noodles well. They will give off an unpleasant odour when you first open the packet, so this step is necessary.
- Give yourself some space and place the ingredients around you (mise en place is important here) as well as a large plate to roll on and another one to place the finished rolls so that everything is ready and accessible. Now you are ready to roll!
Dipping Sauce: (video below)
- 2 heaped tbsp of chunky peanut butter
- 2 tbsp coconut/cashew milk
- 3 tbsp Tamari/soy sauce
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Siracha (more/less depending on the heat of the sauce and your preferences) - can substitute some or all with tomato paste
- 1 tbsp sesame oil (ok to leave out, I do sometimes)
- Juice of 1 lemon/lime
- Mince or press the garlic and put it together with all other sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk away, especially if using chunky peanut butter, (you could also use a small food processor, for a smoother sauce).