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Friday, October 26, 2012

Nime Chow

Hi everyone! Today I'm going to be sharing one of my all time favorite lunch items EVER.... and yes, it was totally necessary to have that be in all caps. I freakin' love this stuff. What is is? Well, if you haven't guessed from the title, it's NIME CHOW.  Again with the caps, I know. I'll stop know. My apologies.

Anywho... if you haven't guessed yet, I love this stuff. Basically it is a salad-like wrap served with some form of a vinegar-y, peanut-y sauce. My version is generally a little more closely related to a summer roll, in that I tend to leave out the noodles.

One of the best parts of this particular dish, is that it is absolutely 100% customizable. For example, my leaving out the noodles. But it doesn't stop there. Oh, no. That'd be too boring. Basically, you can put almost anything you want in these babies. The protein can be whatever you like. The most traditional is shrimp (or plain vegetarian). One of my favorites is chicken; specifically chicken teriyaki. You can also vary the herbs, if you add any at all. I prefer mint, basil, and cilantro. This combo gives a very distinctly southeast asian flavor.

Nime Chow:
  • Spring roll wraps (you want the semiopaque white ones that soften in warm water)
  • Bean noodles (or glass noodles)
  • vegetables for filling: carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, etc.
  • protein for filling: shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, or leave vegetarian
  • herbs wanted: basil, mint, cilantro, etc.
  • warm water

If using noodle, prepare as package instructs. Fill a shallow dish half way with warm water. I used a pie pan because it completely fits the wrappers. Dip wrappers in warm water and allow to soak for 15-45 seconds, or until very pliable. The temperature of the water may make the soak time vary.

Place pliable wrapper on a large plate. Add desired fillings, making sure not to over stuff to avoid tearing. Keep in mind that the fillings directly touching the wrappers will be visible once the roll is wrapped, so try putting the pretty, brightly colored items down first.

Wrap up like a burrito. Fold in two opposing sides first, then turn and roll the entire thing in on itself. The wrapper sticks to itself, so there is no need to worry about it unrolling. Just take your time and be gentile, because it is fragile and will rip. It may take a few tries before making a perfect roll. I had a very difficult time at first, but my friend Jenn (who is a self proclaimed nime chow aficionado) made a perfectly beautiful roll on her first go.

For fancy plating, cut on a bias and serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Dipping sauce:
  • 1 tsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 Tbs gluten free soy sauce*
  • 2 Tbs seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 5 dashes roasted sesame oil 
  • 1 tsp honey

Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly. 
*Regular soy sauce lists wheat as the first or second ingredient. Gluten free soy sauce simply removes this ingredient. I prefer gluten free soy sauce because it has a fuller, deeper soy flavor. I also tend to lean towards "reduced sodium" blends.

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