We tend to cook more Asian food than other ethnicities. Right now the garden is bursting with several different kinds of lettuces that need to be eaten. So, we decided to make tuna and salad the Asian way.
Salad rolls are a very common appetizer in Vietnamese cuisine. You really can put whatever fresh ingredients you want into a rice paper wrapper (rice stick is mandatory) and use whatever sauce suits your fancy. Some people only put vegetables in and others add cold cooked shrimp or boiled chicken/pork. My Hubby and I agree, we really just make salad rolls because they are a good “vehicle” for our favorite sauce.
I will admit there is a certain amount of skill one has to develop when soaking the rice stick until they are soft enough for salad roll and soaking the rice paper wrapper for just long enough that when you roll it won’t tear during the roll or afterwards on a plate. I get better at it everytime I make them. (Takes experience to get good at it, just like shearing sheep!) It does help to use very hot water when soaking the rice stick. Sometimes I have to pour the water out and add more hot water until I get the pliability/”chewability” that I’m looking for.
When I start to make the rolls, I like to put a wet paper towel on the plate that I am rolling on. When getting the rice paper wrapper wet, I only soak it until it just turns pliable between my spread fingers when I put my hand on it palm down under the water. The wrapper will continue to get softer as you load ingredients and it lays on the wet paper towel. I make the rolls just like you would roll up a burrito, but I suppose you can roll them just like an egg roll, too. I also cover any finished rolls with a wet, squeezed out, paper towel to prevent them from drying out and splitting.
The limiting ingredients here are the rice paper wrappers, rice stick, rice vinegar, and the mirin. You will either need to order ahead of time or visit an Asian food store/market. There really aren’t any substitutions for those ingredients!
Hoisin Peanut Sauce (adapted from my favorite cookbook The Flavors of Asia by Mai Pham)
- 1 T. Vegetable/Sesame Oil
- 1.5 t. Minced/Pressed Garlic
- 0.33 C. Minced Yellow Onion
- 1.5 Oz. Creamy/Chunky Peanut Butter
- 1 T. Soy Sauce
- 1 T. Honey
- 2 t. Sesame Oil
- 0.5 C. Water
- 0.25 C. Rice Vinegar
- Spicy Heat (Add/Omit as needed for your level of spicy): ~1 T. Korean Red Pepper/Chili Pepper Paste
- Garnish (Optional): Chopped Salted Peanuts
Heat the oil and onions in a small saucepan over medium until onions are translucent, then add garlic and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients and summer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Serve with fresh salad rolls. Refrigerate leftover sauce.
Sesame-Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
Click here to view the original recipe by NewOrleansGiglet over on Allrecipes.com.
- 0.25 C. Soy Sauce
- 2 T. Sesame Oil
- 1 T. Aji-Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
- 1 T. Honey
- For Sauce: 1 T. Rice Vinegar
- 0.5 C. Sesame Seeds (Depending on how many steaks you are searing)
- 2-4 Tuna Steaks
- For Searing: 1-2 T. Sesame Oil
Mix all of the ingredients, except for the sesame seeds and rice vinegar, in a shallow bowl (something that will fit steaks one at a time). Pour out half of the mixture into another bowl and add the rice vinegar (this mixture will be the sauce). Dunk the tuna steaks in the shallow bowl one at a time to coat them. Using a pair of tongs, press the sauce-covered steaks into a plate of sesame seeds until they are covered in seeds.
Sear the sesame-encrusted steaks on medium-high in an sesame-oiled cast iron skillet for 1 minute on each side. (For my Hubby I also sear all sides of the steak in under 1 more minute as he isn’t so very fond of very rare tuna. Heck, personally, I could eat it raw on the dock freshly butchered from the fish, just give me a little soy sauce!)
Let seared tuna rest for a couple of minutes and then slice across the grain. Serve with the sauce for dipping.
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