If you ever get a chance to visit the Richmond District in San Francisco, be sure to walk along Clement Street between 2nd and 11th Avenue. The area is a less touristy Chinatown with a few other ethnicities mixed in. Here you’ll find some of the cheapest produce markets intermixed with import stores and a variety of ethnic restaurants and bakeries, click here for pictures of the area. If you’re hungry, stop at a small, family-run restaurant called Mai’s Vietnamese Restaurant. The owners are so warm, friendly and helpful and the ingredients are incredibly fresh and delicious. They’ll teach you how to cook the thinly sliced beef in hot vinegar and roll it into spring rolls if you order the Bo Nhung Dam, which I do every time. With a little advice from White on Rice Couple, I began to make these fresh spring rolls at home. It’s a light and fresh meal that leaves you satisfied but never stuffed. I added my own touch by dipping them in a sweet and salty peanut sauce.
2 (8″) rice papers
6 thin slices cooked steak, preferably top round
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, diced apple, chopped peanuts
fresh mint (optional)
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter w/ salt
1T soy sauce
1T lime or lemon juice
1T fresh grated ginger
1T chili powder
1/2 cup skim or coconut milk
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
1. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce except for the peanuts. Pour 1/4 cup of prepared sauce into a small bowl and add about 1T chopped peanuts. Don’t add the chopped peanuts to the leftover sauce, they will lose their crunch after a few hours.
2. Fill a 9″ baking dish or pie plate with 1/2″ hot water. Slide the rice paper into one side of the dish and submerge to the bottom. Feel the rice paper and wait until it completely softens and the crosshatch marks have disappeared, about 10-15 seconds.
3. Remove rice paper from the water and let it drip a few times. Place on a large plate and line 3 slices of steak down the middle. Top with cabbage, carrots, spinach and any other ingredients. If this is your first time, use less vegetables than you think. Take one side and fold tightly over the ingredients and roll up. Slice in half and dip in peanut sauce. Repeat steps 2-3.
Modify the ingredients to your taste but I recommend using only fresh vegetables as cooking them weighs down the whole meal. The meat can be replaced with chicken, pork or more veggies.
Site Updates: I’ve rearranged the categories and added new ones such as Low Carb, Gluten Free and Vegetarian. There is now a scroll bar and random display order for the blogroll, and more blogs have been added (with more to come).