I promise I will get back to posting baking recipes soon, but for now there is something about the warmer weather that makes me want to make lots of healthy, colourful and nourishing food. Its also been a while since my last post as I've been working on a side project which I'm looking forward to revealing soon!
I've always found I'm at my most productive in the kitchen during the afternoon whilst preparing lunch. With the sun streaming in through the kitchen window, and the whole afternoon still ahead of me, I busy myself with creating a vivid and satisfying lunch. And when there is company to share my lunch with its even better! This recipe for beef and mango wraps, prepared in two different ways, came about precisely on one of those afternoons. Since my first experiment with rice paper rolls was a bit more traditional, I decided to experiment a little more this time around.
I love how versatile rice paper rolls can be - you can prepare them easily once you have prepped your ingredients, and the combination of fillings you can put in them are unlimited. In the same way, cabbage wraps are an easy way of making a filling healthy meal out of a variety of endless options. Saying that, they also make a lovely side or appetiser, and look great on the table at a barbeque.
The ingredients in these wraps seem fairly simple at first glance, but they definitely taste anything but! Juicy sweet mango pieces pair so well with beef, and I am still obsessing over adding pomegranate to anything and everything I can. Don't leave them out here, they really add that amazing sweet crunch and tang, just as they do to anything you add them to. I find that the fruit makes these wraps utterly refreshing.
You can leave out the vermicelli rice noodles from the rice paper rolls if preferred, but I recommend including them in the cabbage wraps to add a little more interest. The hoisin peanut sauce is literally the icing on the cake here, and if you love peanut butter its a heavenly pairing for both wraps.
Whichever way you choose to make them, they are perfect for the coming summer months, and I'm definitely going to be doubling the quantities to make them for the entire family soon!
To prepare the beef
200g beef (flank or sirloin work well), cut into thin strips
1 tsp garlic, minced or finely chopped
Half tsp ginger, minced or finely chopped
2 tsp soya sauce
2 tbsp vegetable or sesame oil
1. Mix the beef with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, and leave to marinate for 1-2 hours, or at least half an hour.
2. Heat a little oil in a frying wok, and add the beef. Stir fry for 5-10 minutes making sure the beef has cooked through, or is cooked to your liking.
3. Keep aside.
Beef & Mango Rice Paper Rolls
Beef strips, cooked
Half a medium mango (less than fully ripe is better), peeled and sliced thinly
6-8 whole lettuce leaves, Boston or Bibb
Vermicelli noodles, large handful, cooked
Half cup pomegranate arils
Lime, to taste
6-8 rice paper sheets
Hoisin peanut sauce (as below)
1. Heat some water in a pan, and once slightly hot (not boiling) pour into a heat proof bowl, large enough to soak your rice paper sheets.
2. Keeping all your ingredients at hand, take a sheet of rice paper and soak in the warm water for 20-30 seconds or until soft.
3. Place on a surface and add a little of each ingredient along the centre of the roll, horizontally. Start with one lettuce leaf, then 2-3 beef strips in the centre of the leaf, a few mango slices, vermicelli noodles, and lastly a sprinkling of pomegranate arils. Squeeze a couple of drops of lime if desired.
4. Fold the ends in if preferred, and/or carefully roll up the rice paper roll to enclose the filling.
5. Repeat again with the other rice paper rolls and filling.
6. Serve with the hoisin sauce for dipping.
Beef & Mango Cabbage Wraps
1. Repeat ingredients as above, minus the rice paper.
2. Taking the lettuce leaves, fill each leaf with ingredients, layering as with the rice paper rolls.
3. Drizzle a few teaspoons of hoisin peanut sauce over and serve immediately. Eat them rolled up or with a fork if preferred!
For the Hoisin Peanut Sauce
4 tsp smooth peanut butter
2 tsp hoisin sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Half cup water
1 tbsp brown sugar
Peanuts, crushed for garnish
1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the crushed peanuts, in a small pan over low heat.
2. Mix well for about two-three minutes until smooth and thickened.
3. Take off heat and serve straight away as a dip or over lettuce wraps.