Hello! For the first recipe of this new year, I thought I’d take some inspiration from the beautiful diversity of Toronto, where Putin and I spent our Christmas and New Year. My favourite thing about Toronto has always been the amazing range of food on offer, whether you want Vietnamese pho, Jamaican curried goat, or even a vegan cupcake or two. For one dinner, Putin and I scurried back to Pho Hung on Spadina, where we had one of our first dates, and where we knew we could get one of our favourite dishes: Bún Chả Giò.
Now, when it came to recreating this dish, I knew that I wanted to make it lighter, and I knew that I’d have to put my own spin on it; I would never be able to recreate the original in all its glory, due to the limited food resources we have here in Panama as well as the fact that I’m just not Vietnamese.
This vegan Vegan Bún Chả Giò, then, is a nice, healthier version of the Pho Hung classic. With fresh spring rolls, rather than the fried classics, this version stays gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free and totally delicious. A nut meat places the pork meatiness in the non-vegetarian version, making this meal filing as well as tasty!
For the “meat”
1 cup walnuts and almonds, mixed
1 tbsp sweet and sour sauce
1/2 red onion
For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large packet vermicelli noodles
4 rice paper wrappers
1 small bag beansprouts
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 large cucumber, peeled and grated
1/2 cup peanuts
Cook the rice noodles in a pan of water until the noodles have just turned tender. Drain and rinse with cold water
Place the nuts, sweet and sour sauce and red onion into a food processor and blend for a few seconds. Set the “nut meat” aside
After rinsing out your food processor, add in all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and pulse for a few seconds. Again, set aside
Half fill a frying pan with water, then submerge one rice paper wrapper in it. After a few seconds, when it is malleable, remove from the water and pat dry on a clean tea towel
Place onto a wooden chopping board and fill with noodles, beansprouts, carrots, nut meat, mint and Thai basil. Wrap as shown at this link
Repeat until all the spring rolls are made
Place a handful of vermicelli noodles in the middle of each bowl, plus a handful of grated carrot, a handful of grated cucumber, a handful of beansprouts and some of the fresh herbs
Place 2 spring rolls on top of each bowl
Top with fresh herbs and peanuts, and drizzle with the dipping sauce
Voila! Ready to eat!
You’ll most likely have some vermicelli left over, so put these into some tupperware in the fridge; they keep beautifully for days.
If you prefer, you can use wheat wrappers for these spring rolls and deep fry them for a more classic dish, but it’s easier and healthier to make them this way. Both ways are delicious!
The “nut meat” here gives a gorgeous addition to the taste explosion of the spring rolls, and this is quickly becoming one of my favourite meals to make. Enjoy – and thanks, Toronto!