I will not be defeated! Not by bad moods, heat, humidity, self-doubt, flies, loneliness, crap job, or, floppy, ugly un-photogenic rice paper rolls. This was my second attempt at photographing these delicious, but oh-so un-cooperative, little morsels, and I think I’ve managed to semi succeed in making them look good. Sometimes, the styling part of this blog is quite a big challenge, I never really have a plan and just look around at the last minute for something textural and interesting that suits my mood. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, I figure it’s really good practice for one day when I work in a really high end magazine and get to cook and style delicious food with an endless array of beautiful props. Haha!!
This was the first time I had cooked with red meat since baking a big ol’ ham at Christmas time and man, was it satisfying. Just this little bit of red meat, beautifully marinated and cooked perfectly, was just what I was craving. I’m definitely not one to enjoy a big thick steak but something like this is right up my ally. It’s a great way to make meat stretch between lots of people too, making it much more cost effective.
The dipping sauce that accompanies a rice paper roll is always a big factor in the end result. Classic sweet chilli is always a winner, but by adding a few little things, you can step it up a little and impress you’re guests with a ‘home-made’ dipping sauce. Cheeky.
Serves 4 as a starter
250g beef minute steaks
1 lemongrass stalk, white and pale green part, finely grated
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs dark soy
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
peanut oil, to cook
1/4 small green papaya, grated
50g bean sprouts
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
80g vermicelli, cooked to packet instructions, rinsed under cold water
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup roasted, chopped peanuts
1/2 cup each of, loosely packed, mint and thai basil leaves, torn
1 tbs sesame oil
1/2 continental cucumber, thinly sliced
12 small rice paper rounds
6 tbs sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tbs tahini
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
In a medium bowl, combine the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy, brown sugar and pepper and stir to combine. Add the beef, use your hands to really mix well and coat the meat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Set aside.
Heat a griddle pan, frying pan or barbecue to very hot. Add the peanut oil, and cook the beef, for about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside to rest and cool. When cool, thinly slice arose the grain.
In a bowl combine the papaya, bean sprouts, red onion, noodles, lime juice, peanuts, mint, thai basil and sesame oil.
Half fill a large dish with tap water, one large enough to fit the rice papers.
Working with one at a time, put the rice paper in the water for about 20 seconds, or until slightly softened. Place on a clean work surface. In the middle place 2 pieces of cucumber, a few strips of beef, and about 2tbs of the papaya mixture. Fold the bottom end over the mixture, fold the ends in, and roll up to secure. Repeat with remaining rice papers and mixture.
Serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Tip: To make them look a little bit pretty, instead of mixing the herbs through with the papaya mixture, keep them whole and lay them out on the rice paper before filling and rolling.