Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2021: Mhyre Virtudazo

Whenever I see or think of Vietnamese rice paper, Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring roll) and Chả giò (fried spring roll) immediately come to mind. I love these appetizers so much that I eat them as snacks or as my main dish for dinner.

My problem with spring rolls (including the Filipino version Lumpia), however, is the step that involves wrapping. I find it tedious and prone to errors (uneven shapes or rolls with holes). Haha! To prevent that from happening, I have two options: order from a restaurant or “solve the problem”. On extra lazy days, I would choose the former. However, if you know me really well, you’d know that I’d usually go for the latter. And so, I had to do different takes on rice paper and spring roll preparation.

I’ve categorised these into three levels (easy, medium, hard) and I’m hoping you’re up for the game to reach Level 3. Are you ready?

Level 1 – Easy

Rice Paper Puffs. Or Fried Rice Paper. This has become quite popular on TikTok. All you need to do is cut 3-4 pieces of rice paper into quarters and deep fry them in hot oil – that’s it! I think rice papers already have a mild sweet and salty taste to it so I prefer to eat them as it is. At the same time, I’ve seen videos where a little bit of salt and pepper, or instant ramen seasoning packets are added at the end. Try it plain first. If it’s too plain for you, then add seasoning.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs

Level 2 – Medium

Rice Paper Nacho Salad. We’re following the same procedure with the Rice Paper Puff, except that you cut up the rice papers into smaller pieces. Serve with fresh herbs and julienned carrot and cucumber. How you eat it is like how you eat with nachos. Even if you cut up the rice paper into small triangles, it still puffs up large when fried so you don’t have to worry about falling pieces of vegetables when you eat it (but wouldn’t there always be falling pieces of filling or sauce whenever we eat nachos?). Again, I enjoy them without any seasoning so feel free to add salt and spices to your liking.

Bonus Round – Of course there’s a bonus round!
The salad makes the dish colourful enough but NOT ENOUGH for me. Lol. Why not add some colour to the rice paper? For yellow, mix turmeric powder in hot water. For pink, mix red beet slices and a teaspoon of vinegar in hot water. For violet, boil half a head of cabbage (shredded) in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Remove the shredded cabbage then add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Your liquid may turn blue which is great, but mine came out violet and I’m still happy with it. Allow for the three liquid colourings to cool before use.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nachos

How to colour rice paper is just like how you paint with watercolor! Dip your silicone brush into your liquid colouring, then paint one side of rice paper. As soon as you’ve coated the entire surface, slap another rice paper onto it and hold them firmly until they stick together. Wait for it to dry. Once dry, follow the steps for Level 2.

Level 3 – Hard

Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups. This is a simple Vietnamese salad minus vermicelli noodles. The rice paper cups would replace them. The inspiration for this recipe came from YouTube videos I chanced upon last year. Surprisingly, these are Korean recipes that use Vietnamese rice paper. They are called 라이스페이퍼 꽃부각 (Rice Paper Flower) or 라이스페이퍼 튀김 (Fried Rice Paper).

To make rice paper cups, press on a teaspoon or 2 of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper. Cut the rice paper into 4 up until you reach the center. Deep fry it in hot oil for 10 seconds and drain immediately. Adding cooked rice in the middle prevents the rice paper from curling too much and it will allow it to form a flower shape.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

You’ll use the same salad as in Level 2. For the dressing, I recommend the one from Allison’s Magic Vietnamese-style Glass Noodle Salad [https://amcarmenskitchen.com/2020/10/21/magic-vietnamese-style-glass-noodle-salad/] recipe (it’s sooo good!). What I did differently when I took photos for this recipe is that I used calamansi instead of lemon, garlic powder instead of minced garlic, and chili oil instead of minced chili (at that time, I didn’t feel like mincing garlic and chili and I ran out of lemon).

When ready to serve, scoop up some salad and place it in the middle of the rice paper cup. It’s very important that you consider this step. If you put the salad too early, your rice paper cup will be soggy from the moisture of the vegetables and herbs.

Bonus round – Fight!
The rice paper cups will be plain looking without any colour. Boooring! Prettify them by painting the edges with the same liquid coloring you used. Let it dry first before frying. You may also add colour to the rice using the same liquid coloring. I made the rice green by boiling the remaining cabbage liquid for another 15 minutes.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

They really look like flowers once deep fried! Let your family or friends marvel at the fried rice paper flowers first then impress them some more with the salad!

Step up your salad game by adding shredded rotisserie chicken and pickled jalapeño slices. You may replace the chicken with steamed or poached shrimp and the pickled jalapeño with a fresh one.

And that’s the end of your kitchen journey. For now! I’m sure you’ll have more adventures as you try all of Allison’s Auguest recipes. I hope you enjoy making and eating rice paper 3 ways!

Here are the main ingredients that you’ll need for the recipes below:

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways Main Ingredients


Rice Paper Puffs

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME <5 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pcs rice paper
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • Salt and black pepper, or seasoning (optional)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 4 equal pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease.
  3. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Puffs


Rice Paper Nacho Salad

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

6 pcs rice paper
Oil, for deep frying
3 cups carrot, julienned
3 cups cucumber, julienned
2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)

METHOD

  1. Cut each rice paper into 8 pieces and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  2. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined.
  4. Transfer the salad to a large serving dish and prop the fried rice paper slices around it.
  5. Serve and enjoy immediately. Season the fried rice paper slices with salt and pepper or instant ramen seasoning, if you wish.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Rice Paper Nacho Salad


Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pcs rice paper
  • 3 tsp cooked rice
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 3 cups carrot, julienned
  • 3 cups cucumber, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (sliced mint, basil, cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (or more, to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 red bird’s eye chilies, finely minced

METHOD

  1. Press a teaspoon of cooked rice in the middle of the rice paper.
  2. Cut the rice paper into 4 parts up until where the cooked rice is, and deep fry in hot oil for about 10 seconds.
  3. Immediately remove from oil and drain in a strainer lined with a paper towel to soak up any extra grease. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the carrots, cucumber, and fresh herbs together until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Add the water, lemon juice, sugar, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic cloves, and chilies in a jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Scoop some salad and place it in the middle of the fried rice paper cups and serve with the dressing in a dipping sauce cup or small ramekin. Enjoy!

Optional: You can add your choice of protein and pickled jalapeño slices to the salad to bulk it up and make it a really filling meal.

Vietnamese Rice Paper 3 Ways - Vietnamese Salad in Rice Paper Flower Cups

As a third time Au-guester, my goal is to not only keep up with the theme, but also share recipes that require less effort than the first 2 recipes I’ve submitted in the previous years. This is why I’ve decided to not include steps on creating the liquid colouring in the recipe method. I’m really into colourful dishes and I’m usually bound to outdo myself every time I create something new. If you did try to add color to your rice paper, please let me and Allison know how it was like for you. We’d be very interested to learn about your kitchen experience!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2021 | Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ferreli “Mhyre” Virtudazo

myTaste.com

Auguest 2020: Mhyre Virtudazo

Celestial Ice Buko

“If I can make it from scratch, I will make it from scratch. I also try to cook with whole foods as much as possible and eat more vegetables/plant-based meals at least once a week.” — Mhyre Virtudazo

Auguest 2020: Mhyre Virtudazo

When Allison told me her plans for Auguest 2020 and asked if I wanted to be one of her guest contributors, I was immediately onboard! I didn’t hesitate and said yes in a heartbeat! I was very thrilled to hear about this month’s theme which is RAINBOW COLORS!! 🌈 How could I say no to that? I was just so excited that I volunteered to share a recipe for a blue-colored dish.

Fast forward to a couple of months before August, I realized that there’s a challenge to the color I chose. I wanted my dish to represent me. I wanted it to be completely plant-based. I’m trying to incorporate more vegetables and other plant-based products to my meals. I love meat and will not go vegan but this is my way of lessening my carbon footprint. I’ve also been trying to make more Filipino dishes so that’s another thing. The trickiest part is I don’t typically find blue-colored food attractive. I mean I won’t eat blue soup but I can eat a blue dessert.

Celestial Ice Buko

So… I had to come up with a Filipino dish that’s plant-based and visually appealing for my taste. Most importantly, I wanted to consider Allison’s readers and IG followers. I wasn’t only creating this for myself but also I’d like for you guys to try and enjoy what I’ll be sharing.

One afternoon, I was brainstorming by myself (LOL) when I heard an ice cream vendor pass by my house. So I thought, why not dessert? What about ice cream? I can make it blue by using butterfly pea flowers! But then I couldn’t imagine eating blue ice cream cone. I kept on making a list of possible ingredients then I wrote coconut milk on my notebook. That’s when the idea hit me—ice buko! Why not? I mean it brings me happy childhood memories and it meets my complicated requirements! Oh, and I just found out that there’s a Wikipedia entry for it! Haha! Most of all, I could eat it even if it’s colored blue!

I hope you try the recipe. I like how smooth and creamy the texture is even without condensed milk! You’ll also be amazed with how it turns out visually from making it to the final result! It freezes into a soft blue just like the color of the sky while the swirls of white are coconut milk and macapuno strings that look like clouds.

Celestial Ice Buko Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 4 ICE LOLLIES

Freezing time: 4 hours

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (two 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup macapuno strings (syrup must be drained)
  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (two 1/2 tbsp)

METHOD

  1. In a pot, heat coconut milk and sugar in low heat.
  2. Make slurry using the coconut milk from the pot and some cornstarch. Combine it with the rest of the liquid in the pot.
  3. Stir the liquid gently until sugar has been fully dissolved. Be careful not to bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the dried blue pea flowers. Mix until all the flowers are soaked in coconut milk.
  5. Turn off heat and cover the pot. Steep for 8-10 minutes. Remove the flowers.
  6. Wait for the liquid to cool.
  7. Put a few spoons of macapuno strings in each mold. Pour the liquid, put the lolly holder on top and freeze for about 4 hours.
  8. Admire your beautiful Celestial Ice Buko before devouring them! Enjoy!

Celestial Ice Buko

Here are some conclusions/tips/notes for making this Celestial Ice Buko:

  • Traditional ice buko has red beans. I didn’t include them because it might not go well with the butterfly pea tea. But feel free to experiment!
  • Instead of red beans, I tried rice crispies and loved it! Wanna try it, too? It pretty much follows step 6 but you freeze a teaspoon of rice crispies and a tablespoon of blue liquid first for 30 minutes. The rice crispies will float if you put a large amount of liquid. They will also stick to the lolly holder if you quickly fill the mold up.
  • I wanted to dip my ice buko in melted white chocolate first and then sprinkle it with rice crispies. However, I read on the package that it had dairy in it so I scrapped my plan. If you’re okay with a not so 100% vegan dessert then go ahead and enjoy your ice buko with white chocolate casing. I bet it’s going to be yummy!
  • Another thing you can try is freezing 3/4 coconut milk-blue pea flower mixture in the mold for 2 hours. Fill up the rest of the mold with butterfly pea tea and freeze for another 2 hours. When it freezes, it will have different layers of sky blue and indigo. Just like the galaxy!
  • For another galaxy-looking option, sprinkle blue, pink and purple colored sugar on your ice buko.
  • No ice lolly molds? No worries! You may use paper cups and popsicle sticks. I also made a batch with them. I doubled the quantity and was able to make 11 pieces!
  • Freezing time may vary depending on your freezer. It took overnight for my ice buko to fully solidify in one of the refrigerators I used. (Back story: I made this recipe 8 times in 4 different houses. Therefore, I’ve tried 4 different refrigerators. 😅)

Celestial Ice Buko

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Mhyre Virtudazo (@acupofjasminerice)

BON APPÉTIT

– Mhyre Virtudazo

myTaste.com