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Sunday, March 25, 2018

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Rice is a nice autumn snack

Dazz Switalla
Flavour Secrets
No.1 The Strand Chef

There is always some form of rice in the pantry. Recently, I was rummaging through the clutter and found arborio rice for my curry instead of basmati.

I also found a packet of Vietnamese rice paper, the inspiration for a lunchtime snack on a hot autumn day.

The thing about rice is its versatility seems to be endless. One of the by-products of rice is rice flour, useful for so many things. You can add it to a gluten-free flour mix or to a favourite batter mix to make it extra crispy.

Rice flour is a must in the pantry, especially for the increasing number of people on a gluten-free diet. I haven’t attempted to make rice paper sheets myself, but have used rice flour in pancake and crepe mixes with a lot of success.

Making the flour itself isn’t that difficult if you have a good blender and a few hours to soak the rice, drain and blend in small batches, and then cook over a low heat to evaporate and dry. I’ve tried this once with basmati when I had a recipe that only needed one cup of rice flour.

You can turn nearly any bean or grain into a flour that can be used as a starch or binder. It’s just about learning the right technique, something Google is good at.
But to keep things simple, gluten-free and absolutely yummy this week, I’m poaching some chicken in lime and coconut, then shredding and mixing with traditional ingredients to make my favourite rice paper rolls.

Vietnamese style rice paper rolls

Makes 12 rolls


 1 large 200g chicken breast
 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
 3 discs palm sugar 80-90g
 ½ cup lime juice
 2 cups water
 150ml coconut cream
 1 packet large size rice paper
 1 packet vermicelli
 100g fresh bean sprouts
 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
 1 thinly sliced spring onion
 1 thinly sliced red pepper
 1 small handful chopped mint
 Coriander leaves
 Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
 Sweet chilli sauce for dipping


In a small pot poach the chicken breast in water, lime juice, palm sugar and lime leaf. When nearly cooked, add coconut cream. Reduce the heat and stir so the juices don’t catch.

Once cooked allow to cool completely in the resulting creamy, limed, sugary juice.
Cook the vermicelli noodles in boiling water for two to three minutes, then drain and cut up and mix with the rest of the salad ingredients.

Soak the paper sheets one at a time in warm water for about one-two minutes depending on water temperature. Rest separately on a clean tea towel to swell and go wrinkly.

Shred up the chicken and add to the salad and vermicelli mix. Add in just enough coconut reduction to moisten the mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then roll up in rice paper before they begin to dry out. Do not overfill and remember to fold in the ends. Cover and keep in the fridge, then serve with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce on the side.


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