Rice Paper Rolls with Kale & Pear and Peanut Coconut Sauce
Makes 10 fat rolls
I wanted something juicy to put into the classic summer rolls so beloved in Viet restas; unfortunately most places just load up the veggie version of these rolls with a lot of noodles and bland unseasoned tofu.
These unconventional rolls are filled with massaged kale seasoned with plenty of lime juice, chewy coconut and strips of crisp juicy Asian pear; the bittersweet kale and Asian pear filling is a great foil for the rich peanut coconut dipping sauce. If you can’t locate Asian pear firm, crunchy Bosc pears make a good stand-in.
Tip: I make these for myself all the time without the cellophane noodles for a more salady treat; use 1 pound of kale and double the dressing ingredients.
Peanut coconut sauce
1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
⅓ cup coconut milk
3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons chili sauce
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons roasted chopped peanuts, for garnish
Kale Fresh Rolls
1 ounce cellophane noodles, cooked and drained according to package directions
1/2 pound kale
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons grated dried unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons sugar or 1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons grape seed oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large Asian pear (about 1/2 pound)
4 scallions, green parts only, sliced lengthwise into ¼ inch wide strips about 5 inches long
10 large springs of cilantro
10 round eight to ten inch wide rice wrappers (have a few extra just in case you have more filling)
1. Make the peanut coconut dipping sauce first: in a small mixing bowl whisk together all of the ingredients. When ready to serve, scoop into a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped peanut garnish.
2. Strip the leaves off the kale and discard the stems. Wash, dry and stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll into a tight bundle. Use a heavy sharp knife to slice the kale into the thinnest ribbons you possible can. In a mixing bowl combine kale, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, coconut, sugar, grape seed oil and salt and knead the kale with the dressing for 2-3 minutes until kale has reduced in bulk by half and is tender. Remove core from pear, slice into matchsticks no thicker than 1/4 inch and toss with remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Have noodles and cilantro arranged on a plate ready to use. Have 10 rice paper wrappers hander nearby and fill a 12 inch pie plate (or similar dish) with 2 inches of warm water.
3. To assemble a roll, press a rice paper wrapper into the plate of warm water. After about 40 seconds it should be pliable and soft, remove from the plate, shake off any excess water and spread out onto a work surface. On the portion closest to you mound about 3 tablespoons of kale, a similar sized portion of noodles, a spring of cilantro and a stalk of scallion. Fold over the opposite sides to overlap the filling, then firmly hold onto the filling and roll the fresh roll away from you; allow a portion of the scallion to stick out of one of the ends of the roll. Repeat with remaining rolls, soaking any additional rice paper wrappers as needed. Serve immediately with dipping sauce!