You may well ask, what does George Clooney have to do with Vietnamese rainbow rice-paper rolls? Does he make them? Or eat them, regularly? Or endorse them?
I have no clue….as we haven’t communicated of late :)……but then I haven’t communicated with anyone in almost a month. I’ve been busy, busy, busy.
Busy making cakes, busy making chocolate, busy with Diwali and my Study Groups. Yes, they’ve been in full swing and I haven’t shared any of the many, really engrossing and enthralling presentations with any of you. Shame on me!
But here is a recipe for delicious sweet chilli sauce that I made for our Study Group this week. My presentation was on chillies- ‘The Spice that Conquered the World’.
Before I did my research, I had no clue that 500 years ago, the cuisines of the world were bereft of chillies!
Can you imagine a Thai curry without the kick of the tiny padi chilli?
Or a sinus clearing Sri Lankan pol sambol without any heat? It seems almost blasphemous to imagine the Andhra Avakkai pickle in a tame avatar, without its accompanying Shaktis of chilli powder and turmeric.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had a fascinating time delving into the history of the humble chilli, and here I present before you my inspired concoction- Rainbow rice-paper rolls, accompanying the star of the show……..no, not Clooney- but the hot-sweet chilli sauce.
Hot-Sweet Chilli Sauce:
3-4 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 red Jalapeño or Serrano peppers, deseeded if required
4-6 padi chillies (optional, if you like the sauce really spicy)
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
3/4-1 cup sugar (I use less)
1 cup water
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
2 tablespoons water
In the blender, purée together all the ingredients, except for the last two.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch and water to make a paste. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer one more minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits; otherwise, you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating on the surface.
Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate.
Vietnamese Rice-paper rolls:
1 packet rice paper
1/2 a carrot, julienned
1/2 a red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 a pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 a cucumber, deseeded then cut into thin sticks
1/4 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup purple cabbage, shredded
Dip a rice-paper circle in a shallow dish of water, then quickly proceed to layer the mixed shredded vegetables on the rice-paper.
Roll to form neat –well, rolls. Cut each one into 3 pieces.
Serve with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Watch them disappear- like George Clooney in Gravity.