If you’ve ever tried to make rice paper rolls, you’ll know they take some perfecting; the wrappers need to be soaked for the right amount of time so they are pliable but not too sticky, the fillings need to be well distributed so your rolls are nice and plump and they need to be rolled by (almost) expert hands so they are perfectly tight and delightful to eat.
As you may have gathered from the observations above, my rice paper rolls didn’t quite turn out so polished. Beautiful flavours but a delivery that definitely needs more work….then there were the kids rolls (everyone made their own). Actually they weren’t rolls as such, rather lots of scrunched up rice paper, heaps of noodles and a splattering of pork, apple and cucumber. But they loved the mess and the novelty of watching the wrappers soften in a bowl full of water.
I didn’t love the mess quite as much when it was time to clean up. There were noodles absolutely everywhere…
I love that everyone got involved in this meal but I do think that for an unseasoned rice paper roller like me, a simple bowl of noodles is the way to go. The flavour is the same but you bypass all the fiddliness and the mess is a little more contained. So lunch the next day was vermicelli noodles with sweet pulled pork. It was delicious.
All the elements of this dish are cold apart from the warmed pork so it’s a nice cool salad on a hot day. And if you don’t have pork, I think it would work just as well with some shredded chicken or some pan fried prawns cooked in garlic and chilli.
Vermicelli noodles with sweet pulled pork
For the pork
2 cups of leftover pulled pork
2 tbs of fish sauce
2 tbs of brown sugar
3 tbs of leftover pork jelly (juices)
A good splash of water
For the noodles
300g rice vermicelli noodles
A cup of herbs including thai basil, coriander, mint and garlic chives
1 cucumber, finely sliced
1 apple, finely sliced
1/2 a small fennel, thinly shaved
A handful of roasted peanuts, crushed
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
1 lime to serve
Put a large saucepan of water onto boil. Add the vermicelli noodles and cook in rapidly boiling water for 6 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking. Give them another rinse under cold water before serving if they start to stick together.
For the pulled pork, put the brown sugar, fish sauce and pan juices (jelly) in a frypan and bring to the boil. The sauce will start to bubble up and caramelise. Turn the heat down to medium, add a splash of water and add the pork. Mix and continue to simmer until the pork is heated through (a couple of minutes). You want to add enough water to create a nice sauce as this will be the dressing for the noodles. Taste and adjust to your liking.
To serve, dish up the noodles with the pulled pork, cucumber, apple, fennel, herbs, peanuts, chilli and lime. Enjoy!