When the spring-like weather approached us last week it reminded me of a Vietnamese dish I am drawn to when it's nice out. It's a very simple fish recipe I loved to enjoy while growing up with my parents and I sort of came up with my own short cut version throughout the years. It requires baking or grilling a whole fish and wrapping your own rolls in rice paper along with fresh herbs and other ingredients that balance your palette. My sister, Kim Kima, of Put a Spoon In It, came over to share in my Friday night spring feeling dinner. This dish is fresh and easy because it only involves cooking the fish. Everything else is kept fresh; only cleaning and cutting is needed.
I baked two whole rock fish [which I asked the market to scale and clean the insides for me]. For the fillings to wrap in the rice paper we had sliced cucumber and green apple, leafy lettuce, fresh thai basil, mint, cilantro and tia to leaves. I like to have rice vermicelli noodles to stuff my rolls as well. My hubby likes to call this dish Vietnamese burritos as he can make his the way he likes it, which is what's awesome about this dish for all dining guests. All this sounds kind of bland right? Well don't fret, there's a dipping sauce! Some folks do not enjoy the fish sauce that is used in various Vietnamese dishes but I can assure you if you didn't know what it was you'd love it too! For this sauce I made a traditional Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc mam cham; I found Wandering Chopstick's recipe for those that need it; I usually "guestimate" with my dressing recipes.
What I understand is that all these ingredients really balance each other when eaten together. The sour green apple is balanced by the sweet sauce while the spice in the sauce is cooled by the cucumber and fresh herbs. I love ying/yang kind of meals.
leafy lettuce, mint, thai basil, tia to leaves
Rockfish - I forgot [till halfway through our meal] that I didn't spread green onion/oil spread and crushed peanuts over the fish. OOPS next time
We not that fancy for dinner at home so please excuse the paper/foil goods. If you're a fan you wouldn't judge anyways ;-)
All ingredient rolled in rice paper; I had a big bowl of warm/hot water on the table to dip the raw rice paper; this softens the stiff paper in order to roll everything inside.
The first bite is always the best, after choosing your fave fillings to roll.
As a palette cleanser I made Vietnamese lime soda. It's simply crushed ice, a whole fresh lime squeezed [I like to include pulp], sugar [eyeball as to your preference - I usually add a couple teaspoons], mix with plain seltzer, lemon/lime seltzer or soda water. Enjoy through a straw and there you go - instant refreshing limeade.