Monday, 26 August 2013

In 80 meals around the world...Vietnamese spring rolls & spicy peanut dipping sauce

I moved to London in the early '90s and over the next few years got to experience so much food from around the world that I had never had before.  My first Indian curry gave me the hiccups as I wasn't used to the spices and heat from the chilli but I loved every hiccup-y mouthful.  My first Thai food almost had me in tears with delight at the delicate fragrant flavours.  Since then I've eaten Japanese, Mexican, Korean, South African, Tanzanian,...the list goes on.  I feel incredibly lucky to have tasted so many delicious cuisines and can't wait to try many more.  My dream trip would be travelling around the world with Mr Happy Larder and eating in every country of the world - I'd die one very happy & full woman :-)

Spring rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce
I guess where I live "unusual" ingredients have become so much more accessible and whilst I try and watch out for food miles, I also love trying out new things.  The latest is Vietnamese rice paper wrappers.  These thin rice papers are used to make spring rolls and make a fabulous change from having sandwiches for lunch.  You can have them as they are or fried/baked - on this occasion I tried the "original" version.  Simply soak the papers in warm water for a few seconds, then stuff with your favourite filling and roll up tightly. folding over the sides to create a sealed roll.  I had mine filled with fresh salad veggies, cooked brown rice and some salmon. These little buddies went especially well with my homemade spicy peanut dipping sauce - you can find the recipe below.

Mhm, which country will my culinary journey take me to next? 

Spicy peanut dipping sauce (makes one small bowl - should be generous enough for 2 people)

3 - 4 tbsp peanut butter (I used the crunchy type for added texture)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
dried chilli flakes (or chilli powder or fresh - depending on what you have)
a little hot water to make a smooth sauce
optional: a dash of soy sauce

Simply combine all the ingredients, adding the hot water a little at a time until you have the sauce consistency you want.

This sauce goes well with the spring rolls as described above but would also suit as a quick "satay" dipping sauce to go with strips of chicken breast.

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