Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PeiWei Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls

I've had certain cravings that have appeared each pregnancy. PeiWei's Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls are always on the list. So I set out to recreate the dish at home. I've never attempted copying a recipe without a tutorial, so this is fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style. Nevertheless, it turned out beautifully. This is one of my favorite restaurant meals and I think it tastes nearly identical. Oh, and it's gluten free!

Please excuse the photos...the cell phone was closer than my camera and these days that matters a lot!

Don't let the lengthy ingredient list turn you off...most of the sauce ingredients I had on hand and everything is easy to make. Promise.

Homemade Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls

3-4 sprigs Fresh Mint
2 handfuls Lettuce (I just used green leaf lettuce)
2 handfuls Napa Cabbage
2 Carrots
2 Green Onions
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 Chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Lime Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Sweet Chili Sauce (recipe below)
Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
2 cups Rice Noodles
8-10 pieces Rice Paper

Start by channeling your inner Pioneer Woman and assemble your ingredients. The measurements don't need to be exact. Wash and pat dry all the veggies. Give the mint, lettuce, cabbage, green onions, and peanuts a rough chop. Dice the carrots (I'll probably just buy shredded carrots next time). I set everything on a plate and put it in the fridge while I made the sauces.

Lime Vinaigrette
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
Combine everything but the oil in a mason jar and stir until combined. Add the oil, screw on the lid, and shake. 

Sweet Chili Sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 pinches red pepper flakes
Combine everything in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake. 

*Bring water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to package directions while you make the peanut dipping sauce.*

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Measure the water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until it thickens slightly and remove from heat.

Now that the sauces and noodles are done, it's time to assemble these bad boys! Get a container of cold water to dip the rice paper in - a pie plate worked perfectly for me. Submerge one piece completely, shake the water off gently, and lay on a flat, clean surface. Don't be like me and get so excited about your rolls that you drop the package of rice paper on the floor and break the edge off all your perfectly round wraps. 

Haha. Oops.

To make a nice roll, the filling should leave enough room on all four sides to fold.
Sprinkle on a pinch of mint, then a bit of the lettuce, cabbage, carrots, green onions, and peanuts. Then next to that little pile of goodness, lay some rice noodles and shredded chicken. Drizzle a teaspoon of the lime vinaigrette on top of the chicken, followed by a teaspoon of the sweet chili sauce. I figured the noodles and chicken would sort of absorb the sauce best.

Fold in one long side...

...the two short sides...

and roll the whole thing towards the last side, being careful to keep the filling contained. Lay the roll seam side down and it should seal up nicely. 

Repeat until the filling is gone...I was able to make 8 rolls. Serve with the extra peanut dipping sauce and sweet chili sauce. 

SO good. The kids ate them, but they weren't crazy in love with the rice paper so I just tore the rolls open so they could eat the filling with the peanut sauce. I made a couple without the sweet chili sauce for them, because it is a tad spicy. 

Hooray for successful dinner experiments!