While in Viêt Nam, there was one type of summer rolls that I would eat over and over: Bì Cuốn.
Quite different from the regular rolls, these have a toasted flavor thanks to the addition of a special ingredient! Find out more about it below!
WHAT IS BÌ CUỐN?
Bì Cuốn is a traditional Vietnamese dish that consists of rice paper rolls filled with pork skin, lettuce, and fresh herbs. The pork skin is coated with roasted rice powder, giving it a very special toasted flavor. Rice powder is a key ingredient in the making of bì cuốn, and cannot be omitted or replaced. The rolls are then served with a sweet and spicy fish dipping sauce.
Here, we are going to replace the pork skin with a mix of shredded carrots, white sweet potato, tofu, and vermicelli noodles.
HOW TO MAKE IT
These Vietnamese-inspired roll are not only healthy and flavorful, they are also ready in just under an hour!
First, we start by frying some tofu until golden brown. Once this is done, cut the tofu into small matchsticks. Tofu is not mandatory in this recipe, but will add a meaty texture as well as some chewiness. You could also use seitan if you prefer.
Next, we shred carrots and white sweet potatoes. Stir-fry with salt and maple syrup for a few minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Finally, combine the shredded vegetables with the vermicelli noodles, add the roasted rice powder, and mix until everything is well combined. You can find roasted rice powder online, in Asian stores, or simply make your own.
Quick note on noodles: you can use tapioca vermicelli or thin rice noodles. Both works great, although after testing both I have a preference for tapioca vermicelli (not pictured).
To make the rolls, wet a sheet of rice paper, place some lettuce, Thai basil, or your favorite herbs on the bottom side and wrap it tightly. Next, add some of the vermicelli mixture and roll it up tightly. Repeat with the remaining mixture and your rolls are ready to eat!
You want to wrap the filling very tightly so it doesn’t fall when you bite into it. I may have spent a year in Viet Nam, my rolling skills are still as bad as before. I will keep working on it.
These rolls are very different from your regular vegetables summer rolls, the addition of rice powder adds a delicious toasted flavor. Serve at room temperature, with a spicy dipping sauce!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Vegan Bì Cuốn (Vietnamese Rolls)
- 4 ounces firm tofu
- 100 g dry vermicelli noodles
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 small around 200g white sweet potato, shredded
- 2 small around 100g carrots, shredded
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp roasted rice powder
- 4 cups lettuce leaves
- a handful of Thai basil cilantro
- 7 large rice paper sheets or 14 smaller ones
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or vegan fish sauce
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 small chili minced (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp lime juice
- Heat about 1/4 cup of oil in a small and deep saucepan, or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu and fry on each side for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Transfer the tofu to a bowl and cover with cold water. This step will help remove some of the oil and soften the tofu. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Next, cut the tofu into matchsticks and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the vermicelli according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet. Once hot, add the shredded carrots, sweet potatoes, salt, and maple syrup, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the tofu and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- Cut the vermicelli noodles in half so the noodles are not too long. Add to the bowl and sprinkle with the roasted rice powder. Using two spatula, mix everything until fully combined. You can use your hands with gloves to mix well.
- To make the rolls: slightly wet a sheet of rice paper with water and place it on a plate or wooden board. Wait a bit until the sheet is pliable (but not too soft). Place a few leaves of lettuce on the bottom of the sheet. Add a few leaves of Thai basil and fresh cilantro. Fold 1/3 of the rice paper sheet over the lettuce, wrapping it very tightly.
- Next, place some of the vermicelli mixture on top of the lettuce (see photo) and fold the left and right sides of the rice paper over the filling. Finally, roll it up tightly to close the roll. Transfer to a place and repeat with the remaining filling and rice paper sheets.
- Prepare the sauce: in a small bowl, combine all the ingredients together and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste, adding more soy sauce for saltiness, maple syrup for sweetness, or chili for spiciness.
- Serve immediately. Dip the rolls into the dipping sauce and enjoy!