This is one of our regular Friday night easy teas, rice paper rolls. The girls love them and I love that they love them, primarily because they are quick and easy and the sooner I get them made and on the table the sooner I can put my feet up with a wine and start my weekend.
I see it as a win win for everyone: quick and easy meal for me to prepare, healthy for us to eat, and a mother in a good mood because she gets to relax.
So essentially you have pork balls or fingers, as I have done here, which you roll in rice paper wraps with various ingredients.
Firstly and most importantly make sure that wine is in the fridge chilling or if you’re a red drinker, open and breathing.
For the pork balls you grab a packet of pork mince from the supermarket, slap it into a bowl add a good slosh of fish sauce and a teaspoon or two of five spice.
Fry them up until nicely caramelised (for you cooking plebs that means nicely golden) and cooked through. Don’t overcook them; if you do they will be a little like eating ‘Asian style’ cardboard saw dust and in my experience kids won’t eat them.
Once done pile them on a platter with the other ingredients. These are generally but not limited to the following: bean sprouts, iceberg lettuce, rice vermicelli noodles, chilli, carrot, cucumber,fresh mint, fresh coriander and a bowl of dipping sauce such as soy.
You will probably be wondering what the hell the noodles are in my photo because they look nothing like vermicelli. That’s because they are soba noodles. Funny story: when making the kids platter I discovered I needed more vermicelli for our own. I rang Pete to pick some up on the way home from work only to discover he had managed to get himself locked in for the evening and was waiting for security to come and let him out. By the time he managed to make it home I had substituted the soba noodles. No biggie, this is not an every day type of occurrence but let’s just say that these things happen often enough that we just tend to roll our eyes and get on with it.
For your platter you’ll also need the rice paper wraps and some water to soften them in. A word of advice, you only need to dip the wraps in the water for a few seconds. Any longer and you have kids chucking tantrums because they wraps are falling apart and suddenly the wine chilling in the fridge seems a long time away.
Now put it all on the table, tell the kids to dive in and away you go to enjoy that wine.