Hand rolled Vietnamese spring rolls with East + West sausages, shrimp and winged beans

vietnamese spring rolls

I bought this pack of Vietnamese rice paper a while ago and decided to make a surprise supper for my other half last night. I had about 1 ½ hours before she came back and I wanted to try hand rolling these things coz I’ve never done it before. I have eaten a lot of Vietnamese cuisine (even had dog meat in Hanoi) but never actually wrapped even a single spring roll myself.

vietnamese wrap

I was quite surprised to find out that the Vietnamese rice paper are hard, flat circles like a tortilla wrap. You actually have to dip it into warm water to soften it up. My better half later told me that she’s seen a documentary to that effect – the rice paper are mass produced as flat, solid circles.

chinese english sausage

I first defrosted the fresh Chorizo sausage (had one left over) and took out a Chinese sausage (lap cheong). I could insert a joke on the relative sizes here but I can’t think of a tasteful one. Haha! Geddit?

frying sausages

Anyway, I fried up the Chinese sausage and Chorizo sausage (found out later that it’s better to first fry them both whole before cutting) and also a bit of shrimp. No seasoning! I reckon the two flavored sausages would do well.

kacang botol

I also made a pile of carrot shavings and slices and used a couple of winged beans for the vegetable bit. Winged beans are called kacang botol here and people usually eat it as ulam (traditional Malay raw vegetable side). I had wanted it to stick out like the picture but that was harder than I thought. Haha!

making vietnamese rolls

My first two attempts to make one failed – the Vietnamese rice paper are really gooey and sticky after the warm water treatment and it’s not very conducive to wrapping. You cannot mess it up! *One* mistake and the entire wrap is ruined!

sausages shrimp

I put one sliced sausage of each type, a couple of shrimp, then some carrots before sticking in a winged bean and wrapping the works up.

vietnamese rice paper

It took my third try for a slightly acceptable wrap and some came out looking like phalluses which is completely unintended, I assure you.

vietnamese rolls

I chucked it into the fridge to chill and it was really tasty! I made five and my dear ate 3 of them when she came back and left 2 for me but I wasn’t hungry so I only ate it later on in the night as a midnight snack (to the background noise of my neighbor arguing with his girlfriend and telling her not to come over any more and some scuffling and punches – there goes the neighborhood).

chilled spring rolls

The crunchy and crispy texture of the winged bean (kacang botol) with the two sausages made for a really good cold spring roll! It certainly wouldn’t have tasted as good in a tortilla wrap, it needs something more refined, less pushy, and the translucent Vietnamese rice paper fits the bill perfectly! I’ll make this again! :)

wondermilk cupcakes

My better half came back with cupcakes, which is perfect coz I had a 4 pints of two different ice cream in the freezer. Heh.

Preserved meat, vegetable and egg breakfast

preserved breakfast

This is a quick and easy breakfast that’s really fast to bang up in the morning. It’s nice to eat rice for breakfast sometimes and I’ve grown to love this dish – I’ve been making variations of this for the past month. It only takes 15 minutes to cook – the exact time it takes for a rice cooker to do its job. :)

ed weng chow do

You will need:
Kwe Hua preserved meat
Lap cheong (waxed Chinese sausages)
Century eggs
Pickled diced daikon (chai bo)
Rice

lap cheong

The best thing about this recipe is that you cook the meat inside the rice cooker so there’s no additional pots or pans to wash up. Heh!

kwe hua meat

Kwe Hua waxed meat is a preserved meat sold in slabs. It’s usually found in the waxed meat section of your friendly neighborhood hypermarket. It costs about RM 2.50 or so per piece. It’s even more expensive than some imported fresh meat. I can’t figure out why yet, but I can’t argue with the taste – it’s absolutely delicious. Waxed meat is the yums. It’s sweet and has a smoky flavor.

lap cheong string

Preserved meats has an intense flavor and taste – it’s not the off-putting kind of intense, it’s the concentrated kind of intense, the essence of meat and spices distilled into one helluva package. :D

poh choy

I have also added some vegetables into this breakfast – it’s the only one I really like – chai bo. Chai bo is called coi pou in Cantonese and it’s picked diced daikon (Oriental radish).

sausage peel

I started off by preparing the lap cheong (Chinese sausages) – it takes a bit of time to peel the things. Lap cheong is wrapped with waxed paper – the easiest way to take it off is to snip off the twist at the top and peel downwards. Once that is done, you can start measuring out the rice and cooking it.

rice cooker cook

Generally, one measure of rice equals to one bowl of rice. Each measure of rice should be accompanied by an equal amount of water e.g. one scoop of rice requires one scoop of water in the rice cooker. Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and add the Kwe Hua meat and lap cheong. Do not add additional water!

fry chai bo

Once you’ve pressed the cook button on the rice cooker, it’s time to fry the chai bo. It’s a very quick affair – just heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and dump in the chai bo. I like my chai bo to be sweet so I added a lot of brown sugar to it. My recipe calls for half the amount of sugar to chai bo ratio.

chai bo sugar

I know that sounds a bit excessive but chai bo is extremely salty. I forgot to soak the chai bo in water beforehand – it’ll be easier to work with if you do that. The sugar caramelizes with the oil and adds that umami taste to the chai bo. I didn’t put any extras into it – I like my chai bo unadulterated. :)

new century egg

I found these new century eggs while grocery shopping one day – they don’t have a coating of mud and rice husk – it’s just covered with wax.

century egg

No, it’s not a fake egg – it’s just not made in the traditional way but with modern methods which produces the same results by alkali and sodium infusion (which is really what the traditional recipe does anyway).

century egg peeled

It’s MUCH easier to peel – it’s just like cracking a hard boiled egg, you don’t have to worry about accidentally squashing the egg when you open it (the egg doesn’t stick to the shell) and as a bonus it won’t produce a mess.

chai bo

Crack open a century egg and slice it in half. Serve the chai bo with the century eggs as a side dish.

rice cooker

The rice with the Kwe Hua preserved meat and lap cheong should be done by now. Open up the rice cooker and marvel at the wonder that you’ve just created. Heh! It tastes great when paired with the chai bo and century egg.

rice

Anyway, if you haven’t already noticed, this breakfast is full of unhealthy items – everything from the meat, vegetables and egg are preserved. It is REALLY high in sodium so if you have a condition e.g. high blood pressure, it might not be a good idea to partake. You’ll need to drink tons of water for the thirst afterwards. It is very delicious though!

eating preserved breakfast

I think this non-alcoholic cantaloupe beer with hops and malt might be the healthiest component of our breakfast. smirk

Waxed duck – the fake looking meat

waxed_duck.jpg
Waxed duck at a store display

Waxed duck, otherwise known as lup ngap (Cantonese) or lak yak
(Mandarin) is an oily, waxed meat. Lup and lak both mean “wax” in the
respective dialects although the romanization is different. I had
always thought it looked like plastic meat when I was younger and never
really had a chance to eat it. It’s a salty, preserved meat that needs
to be cooked (i.e. steamed) before serving. The seller mentioned that
it needed to be cooked before eating, but I was adamant at trying to
eat it raw and didn’t have much success:

eating raw lap ngap

It was simply too tough to bite off that way. The skin of the duck
went through some unholy preservative measures that made it look waxy
and rendered it all but impossible to tear off with the canines without
softening it first. It retails for RM 4.50 per drumstick (including
thigh area) and the price increases as the size of the fowl increases,
up to RM 25.00 for a full bird (it’s duck).

raw lak yak

Anyway, the above is a photo I took at home while I prepared it for
steaming. There isn’t any fancy ingredients added – this is the
unadulterated experience, just the duck and nothing else, thank you
very much. ;) I covered the plate with another plate as instructed and
then put it over some boiling water (no direct contact, steaming it)
and after about 20 minutes, it turned into this:

cooked waxed duck

It looks much more edible now, though the waxy looking exterior
remains. It also seems quite oily as the photo shows. I ate most of it
with kueh tiaw, though eating it with steamed rice would be a better
choice to offset the salty taste. It’s very salty, no doubt. It’s also
very tough but it was edible, if not palatable (at least to me) after
the first few bites. The choking oiliness and “waxy” feeling of the
duck makes the skin very hard to consume but nevertheless, I liked it
for the novelty value and hey, these things only come around once a
year. Happy Chinese New Year! :)

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