This is quite a classic dish from Vietnam, though I haven't been there personally myself, I do like their beef Pho and generous use of 'green things' in their cuisine. This dish is 'a mistake in disguise' because I actually wanted to make Chee Cheong Fan, which is another form of steam rice sheets but Chinese style, a bit thicker and more floury in taste and eaten with sweet sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds. I saw this mixture at the Asian stores in Malmö and bought them, only to realize it wasn't really the same thing. So, making the best of my mistake is to try making it and with some internet research and combining some ideas from here and there, this is the product of the experiment. The verdict is that its actually quite nice, but it's not as light as it seems and one should probably be happy with 2-3 rolls at most at any one time.
150-200g minced pork
A loose handful of dried black wood's ear (they expand quite a bit after you soak them in water, so be conservative)
Pepper, for seasoning
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
Fish sauce, a couple of teaspoon for seasoning the filling, and 2.5 tablespoon for the dipping sauce
1/3 packet of Banh Cuon mix or you can refer to ravenouscouple's blog for the appropriate batter mix
Water, as according to packet instruction or recipe
2 sliced chili padi
sugar to taste
- Mix the batter according to instructions and leave it to rest while you prepare the minced pork filling. It should be a cream-like consistency.
- Diced up the wood ears, then heat up about 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add in the minced garlic and shallot first, frying till they are slightly brown before adding in the minced pork. Fry till they are almost cooked through and add in the fish sauce and pepper to taste. When done, dish it up and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing 2.5 tablespoon of fish sauce with 3 tablespoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons of lime juice and 150ml of water, together with the sliced chili padi, and if you like a clove of minced garlic. You can adjust the taste of the sauce according to your preference, example if you like it spicier, add more chili. Set aside for the final assembly.
- Next, prepare a steamer for the rice sheets. I did a few trials, firstly by using a cheesecloth as portrayed some blogs I saw, and ladling the batter on top to steam, but it was too difficult and they get stuck onto the sheet. In the end I used my trusty 555 metal plate which I got from Singapore and set it in my bamboo steamer, oiling the plate a little first, (or any steaming equipment you might have) for it to get hot first. Then, pour in 1 ladle of batter (which should be sufficient to cover the base of the plate not too thickly) onto metal plate and cover it, steaming over medium heat for a couple of minutes until it turns translucent and there are no uncooked batter on the sheet. You have to repeat this process until you use up your batter.
- Using a spoon, tear off the steamed rice sheet off the plate onto an oiled surface and you can add the fillings at this point. The amount is dependent on your preference and I like a hearty roll, as you can tell ;)
- Sliced up some cucumbers to be served with the rolls and the dipping sauce.