I know my last recipe was for a Vietnamese dish but stick with me. This one is that good. I remember the day I begrudgingly tried banh cuon chay. I was at my usual Vietnamese haunt and they had sold out of what I usually ordered (I’m known to rave about a restaurant for the one and only meal I’ve tried there). I saw that these steamed rice rolls were gluten-free and vegan so thought I’d give it a shot. What a blessing.
I’d never heard of them before or seen them on a restaurant menu and to this day, have not seen them on any other Sydney Vietnamese restaurant menus. It’s a shame because they are so fresh and light yet still feel like you’ve had a substantial meal. Better still, they are a great option for people with special dietary needs.
Making them at home has been on my mind for quite some time. The thought of making fresh rice sheets for them was what put me off making it earlier. Then I had a brainwave. I could layer a couple of sheets of dried rice paper to get the thickness I need, in less time and with far less stress. I reckon you should give this a shot. It’s nowhere near as laborious as you might think it is, and it tastes delicious. You’ll be eating it within the hour.
Cheat’s vegan banh cuon chay
For the banh cuon chay
1 clove garlic, minced
3cm piece ginger, grated
1 carrot, finely diced
50g wood ear mushrooms, finely sliced
65g organic, non-GMO tofu cubes, baked and diced
25g mung bean vermicelli noodles, cooked and finely chopped
27 rice paper rounds
For the dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Heat some neutral-flavoured coconut oil in a pan and sautee garlic. Add ginger, carrot, mushrooms and tofu, and cook until carrots start to soften. Add noodles and cook a further minute.
Transfer to a heatproof bowl and lay a damp tea towel on the kitchen bench, with a shallow dish next to it filled with water to soften the rice paper rounds.
Soften one rice paper round at a time and lay them on top of each other. Layer a maximum of three rounds per roll, and ensure you have removed as many air bubbles from each layer as possible.
Spoon some filling just below the centre and roll them tightly, as you would if they were fresh rice paper rolls. Repeat until all rounds have been used and there is no more filling left.
Place a couple at a time into a steamer. Put the lid on and steam for 3 minutes. Transfer to serving plates and repeat until all rolls have been steamed.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Adjust flavours to taste.
Pour dressing over the rolls and enjoy.