Chef Charles Phan brings us the best of modern Vietnamese cuisine from his famed San Francisco restaurant in The Slanted Door.
If you love our spring rolls made with pork and shrimp, give this vegetarian version a try. The filling, a mixture of tofu and vegetables with cellophane noodles, is similar to what you’d find in egg rolls. Served with our signature peanut sauce, these are just as good as our original spring rolls.
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat until it reads 275°F on a candy thermometer. Add the shallots and fry until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots from the oil and let drain on a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
- Return the oil to high heat until it reads 375°F on the candy thermometer. Add the fried shallots and fry for 1 to 2 seconds, until brown. Turn off the heat. Immediately remove the twice-fried shallots onto a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Let drain and cool. The fried shallots can keep in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.
- Strain the shallot oil into a heatproof container. Use immediately or keep in a covered container for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- Soak the cellophane noodles in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain the noodles and cut into pieces about 3 inches long.
- To make the filling, in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the shallot oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until light brown. Add the carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitake and tree ear mushrooms and cabbage and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar, and stir until combine. Add the bean sprouts and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cellophane noodles, stir for another minute. Add the fried tofu, stirring gently to combine. Transfer the filling to a colander and set aside until the mixture is well drained.
- Fill a large bowl with very warm water. Dip one sheet of rice paper halfway into the water and quickly rotate to moisten the entire sheet. Lay the wet rice paper on a flat work surface. Spread about ¹⁄³ cup of the filling over the bottom third of the rice paper. Spread about ¼ cup of the vermicelli over the filling, and top with a few mint leaves. Fold in the left and right sides of the rice paper, then fold the bottom edge up and over the filling tightly and roll toward the top end to form a tight cylinder. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling.
- The rolls can be made up to 2 hours in advance. Cover the rolls with a damp towel until ready to serve. Just before serving, cut each roll crosswise into three or four pieces and serve with the peanut sauce.
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker based on the manufacturer's instruction. Spread the cooked rice out on a baking sheet to let cool.
- In a food processor, combine the cooled rice and the remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture becomes a fine paste. Thin the sauce with 1/2 cup of water and continue processing until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Transfer into a bowl and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Reprinted with permission from The Slanted Door, copyright (c) 2014 by Charles Plan. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.