The recipe below is my second attempt at recreating this condiment and, while the resulting sauce is delicious in it's own right, it lacks the magical fairy dust (or maybe the MSG or the fish sauce) in Dalat's original version. Hopefully these rolls with almond butter sauce (we rarely have peanut butter on hand) will satisfy your Dalat cravings until you can make your way back to the Woo. To those of you that can still get the real deal, I probably speak for all the Dalat lovers who have left town when I say "please eat enough for the rest of us".
Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce
Makes about 12 rolls and about 1 1/4 cup of dipping sauce
For the rolls
- 12 rice paper wrappers, plus some extras in case you break a few
- 2 oz thin rice vermicelli, cooked according to the package's directions.
- 1 16 oz / 455 block of tofu, cut width-wise into 8 slices and crisped up in the oven using this method
- 2 oz / 55 g shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and sliced into strips.
- About 24 mint leaves
- About 24 basil leaves
- About 36 cilantro leaves
2. Soak a rice paper wrapper in water until it looses its rigidity, about 45 seconds. Place it on a smooth surface and put about 1/4 cup of cooked vermicelli in the middle of the lower third of the wrapper. Top the vermicelli with 2 tofu strips, about 1/8 cup of cabbage, 3-4 mushroom slices, 2 mint leaves, 2 basil leaves and 3 cilantro leaves. Fold the lower portion of the wrapper over the filling, then fold in the sides. Carefully pinch the filling and roll it upward, making sure the filling is tightly wrapped but being careful not to tear the wrapper. Seeing someone actually do this is helpful, so you might want to check out this video (the guy isn't super entertaining but he is instructive). Repeat the process to assemble the rest of the rolls. If you'd like to store the rolls, put them in a tupperware lined with a damp paper towel and then cover them with another damp paper towel.
For the dipping sauce
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup water
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 teaspoon miso
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, depending on your desired level of spiciness