Everybody loves a good laugh and I’m sure you’re no exception. Today, because if I don’t poke fun at myself someone else will, I’m sharing my very first blog post from a few years ago. Go ahead and look, while I awkwardly pretend to be busy.
Did you get a good laugh? Did you see the quality of those pictures? I have considered removing that post, but don’t because it keeps me humble. (The picture on the left is borrowed from that post.) Also, it has been pinned so many times on Pinterest, I would hate to disappoint anyone who uses it to boost their self-esteem. I’m all about lifting up those in need.
If you were frightened by those extreme close-up, blurry pictures on the old post and never want to visit it again for fear of night terrors, I understand and I’m here to help you through this.
Here is the recipe, sans photos.
Chicken Imperial Rolls
Here’s what you need:
rice paper wrappers
vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and cooled
leafy green lettuce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into thin strips
peanut sauce or plum sauce (recipe follows)
Here’s what you do:
Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. I usually grill the chicken and boil the noodles early in the day so that they have plenty of time to cool in the fridge and it makes the dinner rush go much more smoothly.
Next, pound the heck out of the chicken breasts until they are nice and thin. Season very simply with kosher salt and cracked black pepper and grill until done. I use the George Forman for this so they cook quickly. I use the lower heat setting so they stay moist and the outsides are light brown. Let cool and cut into narrow strips.
Wash the lettuce and tear into pieces that will easily roll up. Remove any crunchy ribs. They will tear the rice paper wrappers as you roll them and then you will say bad words. Then you’ll blame me and I just don’t want to be the cause of such strife!
A word on bean sprouts: Sprout your own! This takes a little planning since they can take several days until they’re ready to use, but it’s worth it. It’s super easy and cheap. Get a jar, sprinkle some mung beans in the bottom. Fill with water and let soak for a few hours. Place some cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and secure with a rubber band. After the beans have soaked a few hours or overnight, drain well and place the jar on its side in a dark pantry or cabinet. Rinse and drain well a couple of times a day. When the sprouts are about 1 1/2 inches long, soak them in some cold water for about an hour, then drain and store in the fridge in an air-tight container until you need them.
Or you can just buy them at the store. Whatever.
Now for the fun part! Grab a skillet that is bigger than the diameter of the rice paper wrappers you’re using. Add a couple of inches of water to the pan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat as you work and turn it back on when the water begins to cool. Soften the wrappers by placing them in the warm water. This only takes a few seconds. Ok, maybe 10, that’s a little more than a few. The way I tell when the wrapper is soft enough, is I look for the texture in the wrapper to disappear. (This tip won’t make sense until you actually see it for yourself.) As soon as it does, pull the wrapper out of the water and lay flat on some wax paper (a large plate works too).
This is where you need to work quickly. The wrapper gets sticky as it begins to dry so you need to have all your ingredients ready to roll! Place a lettuce leaf or two in the middle of the wrapper. Grab some noodles and put on top of the lettuce. Add sprouts, chicken and a couple of cilantro sprigs. Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper over the pile of yumminess, pulling everything in for a neat wrap. Fold one side, roll once. Fold the other side and then finish rolling up the wrapper. While rolling these, you will destroy at least one wrapper. Trust me, you will. Just accept it and move along. You can start over with another wrapper, or you can do it the lazy way, like I do, and just wrap the sad little mess of a roll in another wrapper so it’s double wrapped. Then forget it ever happened.
In the end, you will end up with what looks like a transparent egg roll. It’s a little freaky looking, but don’t be fooled. It’s delicious! Serve with peanut sauce or plum sauce. Because tween bee and baby honeybee have peanut allergies, we serve these with plum sauce. It’s so delicious, you won’t even miss the peanut sauce.
hoisin sauce (make sure your brand is gluten free)
That’s it. Three ingredients. I don’t measure. Shocking, I know! Just add a couple of tablespoons of hoisin to a bowl. Plop in a tablespoon to two of plum sauce and add a little water to thin to a dipping sauce consistency. Stir to combine. Done.
Chinese New Year is this Friday, you need to make these!