I’m all for packed lunches these days. The cost of ready made lunches going up and the fact that I can make something as good at home if not better with minimal effort is my motivation. I have invested in some bento style lunchboxes. The compartments allow me to pack in all kinds of healthy goodies to last the day.
Growing tired of conventional sandwiches and wraps I was happy to stumble across Vietnamese spring rolls a while back. Crispy raw vegetables, rice noodles and prawn or tofu stuffed into rice paper rolls make for a delicious light and low fat lunch. Classically served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce, it makes for an easily prepared meal. I have found the rice paper pancakes is more readily available these days (in supermarkets and online suppliers). Being a dry good, they have a long shelf life so you can open a packet and not worry about the remaining pancakes deteriorating – unlike conventional wraps.
In this recipe you quickly cook off some raw prawns in a smear of olive oil and some sesame seeds till they are just pink. This adds a little extra flavour and of course sesame seeds are super healthy. Collect up some chopped vegetables and some rice vermicelli noodles. I used cooling cucumber and some red and yellow pepper for colour and taste. Lime juice and some chopped coriander, Thai Basil and mint add a tropical zing.
Softening the pancakes is easy – dip them into a bowl of hot water. Carefully lift them out when they soften and lay them flat. Then you can get to work piling up your filling and getting ready to rock and ROLL…
I can tell you these will last in the fridge to lunchtime if you make them the evening before (store in an airtight container).
Serve them with a dipping sauce. You can buy it ready made or make one following our recipe. There are some nice other dipping sauces you can make. We like these as an alternative.
I take my dipping sauce along in a little container and this lunch is supremely satisfying (though not the most elegant to eat at your desk – wipes are essential!).
- 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 star anise
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon minced chilli or dried chilli flakes
- Olive oil spray
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 150g raw king prawns
- Rice vermicelli
- Quarter of a large cucumber, cut into 0.5cm thick strips
- Half a Red Pepper and Half a Yellow pepper cut into 0.5cm thick strips
- 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil (if you have Thai Basil even better)
- 6 rice pancakes
- Prepare the sauce by heating the vinegar, sugar, star anise and when the sugar melts add the fish sauce, lime juice and chilli. Adjust according to your taste and remove the anise pod. Leave to cool.
- Lightly spray a frying pan with olive oil and heat then add the sesame seeds and the prawns. Stir over a medium heat till the prawns are pink on both sides.
- Prepare the rice vermicelli according to the packet instructions, and once drained of water, leave to cool.
- Put all your fillings into bowls ready to prep the rolls.
- Fill a wide saucepan or frying pan with hot water. Working one rice pancake at a time, soak the pancake in the water until it is softened then carefully remove it and lay it on a kitchen towel to drain. Lift it onto a plate.
- Layer chopped cucumber, peppers, prawn, herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice along the lower third of the pancake and then fold over at each end of the line of filling.
- Carefully roll the pancake as tightly as you can. The pancake is sticky so it will hold together despite being so very thin!
- Store the rolls seam side down and keep in refridgerator until serving.
I am adding this to the July One Ingredient Linky that Laura of How to Cook good food and I host and this month is over at Laura’s blog.