Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Buckwheat Soba and Peanut Sauce

After a conversation with some Vietnamese friends about food, I suddenly had a craving for salad rolls.  They make a nice light meal, and they’re pretty easy to whip up.  I used buckwheat instead of rice noodles because I like them, and because I think they’re good for you. You can adapt the salad rolls in many ways, adding chicken or shrimp instead of tofu if you like. And if you really want to make it easy, forget about wrapping it, and serve it up in a bowl as a salad, with a little of the peanut sauce drizzled on top.

What you need:

buckwheat soba noodles, cooked and cooled

carrot, julienned

cucumber, julienned

puffed or smoked tofu, sliced

spinach or lettuce

cilantro

spring onion (optional)

rice paper wraps

For the peanut sauce:

1/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter

1 & 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1 & 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger (I keep it in the freezer so it grates easily)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons honey

a little hot sauce or chili flakes

2-4 tablespoons water to thin it down to the consistency you like

What you do:

1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, then run them under cold water and let them cool down.

2. To make the sauce, combine the peanut butter with the soy sauce, then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing it up until there are no lumps of peanut butter left.

3. Have all the filling ingredients ready to go before getting the rice wrappers ready.  To prepare the wraps, just put some hot water in a shallow dish, and let the rice paper sit in the water for about 10 seconds.  When it is pliable, remove it carefully from the water and place it on your working surface.  Place some spinach/salad in a strip down the middle, then add the rest of your fillings.  Don’t use too much filling or you won’t have an easy time closing it up.

4. To wrap, fold the bottom edge up a little, then fold one side of the wrap over the filling.  Now roll it up.

5. Serve it up with the peanut sauce, and you’ve got a great meal or appetizer.

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