domingo, 7 de octubre de 2007

Mercado Motenses Part II

Ok so I
am obsessed with this market. Completely smitten. There is even a bathroom with toilet paper AND soap in the basement. And a Norwegian fish stand (no wood, but much lutefisk!). And more deliciousness than you can shake the proverbial leg of jamon at.

This weekend I spent a dizzy hour wandering through corridors of plump veggies, shiny fruit and meat parts galore. I put together a fun meal of Vietnamese summer rolls and rice noodles with chicken and vegetable. The basil, rice noodles, fish sauce were easy enough to
come by, but the rice paper wrappers were a bit of a challenge. After talking to several proprietors of various food stands, I got a couple of good leads on rice paper wrappers. We wound up in a funky smelling Chinese grocery store underneath Plaza de Espana. You read right, there is a Chinese grocery store, a travel agency and noodle counter in the corridor between a giant underground parking lot and a meandering stairway to the fairly majestic, Cervantes sculpture laden Plaza extraordinaire.

Rollitos Vietnamitas
(Vietnamese Summer Rolls)
makes 12

2 small cucumbers, peeled and sliced into long strips
2 large carrots shredded or shaved with a vegetable peeler
big handful basil roughly chopped
big handful cilantro roughly chopped
small bag baby lettuce
1 package firm tofu
1 lime
1 package rice paper wrappers (you will use 12, or more if you like. The don't keep super well for more than a few hours, so keep that in mind)

In a large skillet, heat a nice glug of oil and saute tofu until brown and crispy, about five minutes per side. This will take a few batches, you don't want to crowd the pan. Drain tofu on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. When cool enough to handle, cut each slice in half lengthwise

2. arrange all veggies and herbs on a large platter so they are all easy to access and sprinkle with lime juice and salt. Fill a large bowl with warm water and soak a few papers until softened, about 30 seconds (make sure rice paper wrappers can lay flat in the water). On a cutting board or counter covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel, lay one wrapper. About a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the wrapper, mound a few carrot, cucumber and lettuce leaves and cover with a nice sprinkling a herbs and one tofu slice. Tightly wrap ingredients in paper, burrito style, closing the side around the filling and rolling strait to the top. Place seem side down on a large tray. Try not to eat them all before your friends come over (i mean you can if you want to, but then you'll have to make something else...)

Serve with peanut sauce or jarred sweet chili sauce.

easy peanut sauce:
in a small sauce pan heat about 4 Tablespoons water to a simmer. Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, juice of 1/2 a lime, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and a shot of fish sauce (optional). Wish gently until creamy and delicious. Taste for sugar and lime juice. If too think, add a little more water.

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