With warm weather setting in, we do less and less cooking and more and more "assembling" of meals. This gluten-free Thai appetizer is a perfect example of an inventive no-cook dish (that is, if you can excuse boiling some water to pour over and soften the noodles). In essence it is like a salad in a portable package, so it is great for serving at parties or taking on picnics. If you eat enough of these, they can serve as an entree but of course they also pair nicely as a first course with Pad Thai (see entry under Recipes on this blog) or with various Thai soups and salads.
The fillings listed here are certainly Thai-inspired although they take some liberty with the traditional form. Feel free to improvise with your own favorite ingredients, such as mango slices, cucumber, and julienned snow peas.
These rolls can be made several hours in advance; just be sure if you are not eating them promptly to lay a moist towel over the finished, uncut rolls, cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container (they are no fun to eat if the rice gallettes start to dry out!) and store in a refrigerator. They are best enjoyed the same day.
THAI FRESH ROLL INGREDIENTS
10 whole, unbroken rice galletes (10-inch)
30 edible flowers (approximately 3 per roll)
1 small yellow pepper, julienned
several sprigs fresh mint, cilantro, and/or Thai basil
1 cup baby lettuces, micro greens, or sprouts
3 small bundles rice vermicelli/thin rice noodles (approx 4 oz.)
2/3 lb grilled chicken pieces or peeled, steamed shrimp (optional)
DIPPING SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup Sunbutter (or peanut butter, if tolerated)
1/4 tsp powdered ginger*
1 1/2 tsps rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsps sesame oil
2 tbsps gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp chili oil (or to taste)
1/4 tsp garlic powder*
+/- 1 cup water (depending on desired consistency)
* You could also use 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced and 1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger, finely diced instead of the dried versions
FRESH ROLL METHOD
Place the rice vermicelli in a large, heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover. Leave for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
When all your vegetables, herbs and other fillings are prepped, soak the rice gallettes, one at a time, in a shallow pan of room temperature water. Just when the gallette begins to soften, remove it from the water and lay it out flat on a cutting board or prep surface, being careful not to tear the gallette (it will continue to soften even after being removed from the water).
Lay three flowers face down in a row in the center of the gallete; this way they will face outward and be easily visible through the translucent material. On top of flowers, place your other fillings, including roughly 4-6 carrot and pepper strips each, approximately 1/3 cup softened vermicelli, a few lettuces and herbs, in a line, making sure to keep the line of fillings at least 1 inch away from the edge of the gallete so that you have room to roll up the sides.
Fold one empty side of the galette just past the far edge of the ingredients, making a pocket. Fold in the two edges on either end of the fillings, as if you were rolling a burrito, and then roll the ingredient pocket over the rest of the gallette.
You can serve the rolls whole as an entree, or sliced in half on an angle, cut side up (almost like large sushi), as an appetizer.
DIPPING SAUCE METHOD
Combine all ingredients with approximately 3/4 cup water, to start, in a medium bowl (or small food processor). Whisk thoroughly and add more water as needed, a tablespoon or two at a time, to get to your desired consistency. If you choose to use freshly peeled and chopped ginger and garlic, you will likely want to use a small food processor or immersion blender to combine your ingredients.