Vietnamese Rice Rolls with Chinese Peanut Chili Beef

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I usually make a peanut chili beef stir fry using strips of sirloin steak. However, I discovered that by substituting ground beef, I had a divine filling for Vietnamese rice rolls. Vietnamese rice paper comes in a solid pack of translucent, wafer-thin sheets. They are hard to the touch and look brittle but are actually quite strong. After soaking just to soften them they make a delicious wrap for savory fillings and a nice healthy change from fried spring rolls. This is a great starter to have at the center of the table and for everyone to get involved and roll their own.

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus marinating
Cooking time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz ground beef

For the Beef Marinade

  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon shaosing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Filling

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium chili, seeded and chopped
  • oz diced zucchini
  • oz diced carrots
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 12 rice paper rolls, presoaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • oz crushed roasted peanuts

Method

  1. Marinate the beef with the five-spice powder, rice wine and fish sauce for as long as possible. Just before cooking, add the cornstarch and mix well.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Stir fry the garlic, ginger and chili for less than 1 minute. Add the beef and stir fry for 1 minute until the meat starts to turn brown. Add the zucchini and carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Season with fish sauce.
  3. To serve, place a softened rice paper on a plate, spoon a few tablespoons of the meat filling onto the rice paper, sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts and roll up.

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