I've become a fan of rice paper rolls. Easier to make than you might think, they look great great and are very versatile.
Firstly, ROLLING. There are 3 basic shapes. - the 'cigar' shape is made like this: www.mediterrasian.com/cuisine _of_month _ricepaper.htm - the 'parcel' shape is made in a similar fashion, BUT start with a square rather rectangular gob of filling and roll up each side equally - the 'open' style is made like the cigar, but start with the filling in a rectangle that touches one edge of the circle of rice paper. Fold left, bottom and right to seal, leaving one end open. See here: www.vegfamily.com/vegan-recip es/appeti zers/rice-paper-rolls.htm Another way to make small opens is to do cigars and then cut them in half to expose the delectable and attractive fillings, voila.
FILLINGS: Typical Asian-style fillings include - vegetables: carrots, yam (jicama), red pepper, chinese cabbage, kang kong, green paw-paw - zingy bits: garlic, onion, chilli - fillers: vermicelli - protein: tofu, tempeh - live spices: (Thai) basil leaf, mint leaf, spring onion, coriander, rocket, sprouts - non-traditional things: whitlof, purple cabbage, grated parsnip, slivered almonds, julienned summer squash, celery leaves, leftover cooked vegetables, etc. Otherwise you go with whatever you like, don't you? The thing is you can do a bit of a cross-over between stuff you would put in a bowl salad and stuff you would put in a bread roll.
SAUCE: This is a typical kind of dipping sauce to have them with: www.veggienumnum.com/2010/01/ vegan-ric e-paper-rolls/ Otherwise tweak it how you like. Sometimes I just put a splodge - yes, that's the technical term - of sweet chilli sauce inside the roll itself and that's enough for me. These fillings go well with peanuts so a gloppet - another technical term, I'm convinced of that - of peanut butter works great too.
SERVING: Serve at room temperature. Hence can be prepared beforehand if necessary. Think lunch, lunchbox, healthy and great-looking party bites, dinner entree, etc. If you do the cigar shapes you can tie them up with a chive for an extra flourish (they don't need it to hold together, the rice paper gets tacky and stays stuck just fine on its own).
ECONOMICS: Cheap! A packet of 30 costs me $2. They're the large-ish size, about 22cm diameter. For a man, 5 makes a lunch. For a woman maybe 3. Hence 1 packet goes a long way. No need to keep in fridge, they are dry goods.
NUTRITION: Each rice paper sheet/wrapper is 23 calories, 4.5g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 0g fat. Win!
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