Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chicken and sprout rice paper rolls

Growing up, my mom always used to grow her own sprouts on the windowsill in our kitchen. Sprinkled into salads, stir-fries or simply eaten as a snack, sprouts were always part of our family’s diet. But I had no idea just how healthy they are; with the highest concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants per calorie of any food, it’s no wonder these little shoots have gained superfood status. Easy to grow, tasty and packing a serious nutritional punch, sprouts prove that dynamite really does come in small packages.

Here’s how to grow your own:

1.     The counter next to your kitchen sink is the perfect place to grow your sprouts.
2.     Rinse about 2T seeds well until the water runs clear.
3.     Place them in a 1L glass jar and cover with about 2-4cm water.
4.     Secure a piece of muslin cloth or mesh over the opening of the jar and tie with a string or an elastic band. Allow to soak overnight.
5.     Drain the water off and rinse the seeds in fresh water by swirling gently. Place the jar in a cool place away from direct sunlight and rinse two or three times per day with cool water. Your sprouts will be ready to enjoy in about 3-7 days.
6.     To store: drain the sprouts well, pat them dry and then store in a covered container in the fridge.
Some sprout varieties will last as long as six weeks in the fridge, but additional rinsing every now and then will help to keep them fresh.

Some tips:
* Check if your sprouts are ready to harvest by tasting them. If they taste good then they’re ready!
* Just about any seed or bean can be sprouted, so experiment using alfalfa, sunflower or beetroot
seeds, mung or kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, wheat or rye.

* Be sure not to add too much seed to the jar as it will expand up to 10 times the volume during sprouting... and the sprouts need good ventilation so you don’t want them all squashed up.
* Rinsing your sprouts often and properly (along with keeping them moist, but not wet) is extremely important.

Chicken and sprout rice paper rolls
(serves 6)

2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (or use pork, beef or prawns)
1T kecap manis or sweet soy sauce

1T soy sauce

1T teriyaki or oyster sauce
2T sweet chilli sauce

1 cup Thai basil leaves

1 cup mint leaves

1 cup coriander leaves

1 cup mixed sprouts

100g mange tout, julienned

100g carrots, julienned and steamed

16 large rice-paper wrappers

soy, hoisin or sweet chilli sauce, for dipping

Toss the chicken, kecap manis, soy, teriyaki and sweet chilli sauce together. Pan-fry until cooked. Fill a shallow bowl with warm water and dip one sheet of rice paper at a time into the water for about 30 seconds or until softened. Place the rice paper wrapper on a clean dish cloth and arrange various herbs, sprouts, vegetables and chicken in the centre of each wrapper.Fold in the sides of the wrapper and roll up. Cover with a damp dish cloth whilst folding the remaining rice paper rolls.
Serve with dipping sauce.

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