Our natural interests work their way into our writing. My work-in-progress Vietnamese heroine, Amy Truong, is a sports fashion designer who cooks healthy. In the chapter I’m writing Amy makes Lemon Grass Chicken Rolls wrapped in rice paper.
Here is “Amy’s” recipe for 16 rolls:
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno chile1/2 cup peeled and thinly-julienned seedless cucumber
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons minced lemon grass
1/2 cup ground peanuts
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
16 rice paper wrappers
16 leaves red leaf lettuce
- Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Season the chicken with salt and cook in the boiling water until no longer pink in the center, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and allow to cool completely in refrigerator. Shred into small pieces once cooled.
- Combine the shredded chicken, ginger, jalapeno pepper, cucumber, basil, mint, cilantro, lemon grass, and peanuts in a large mixing bowl; toss until evenly distributed. Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, and peanut oil in a small bowl; add to the chicken mixture and mix with your hands until evenly coated.
- Fill a shallow pan with hot water. Dip the rice paper wrappers in the hot water until soft one at a time. Spread the rice paper onto a clean, flat surface. Place 1 leaf of lettuce into the center of a sheet of rice paper; spread about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto the lettuce leaf. Fold the bottom end of the rice paper over the top of the mixture and then roll into a cylinder. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Cut into halves to serve.