|Source||Reprinted from Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl by Pierre Thiam with Jennifer Sit|
This recipe is obviously inspired by the classic Vietnamese summer roll, writes Pierre Thiam in his book, "Senegal." Senegal saw a wave of Vietnamese immigrants around the time of the First Indochina War while Vietnam and Senegal were both still under French colonial rule. Nems, our take on fried Vietnamese spring rolls, are a beloved staple on many Senegalese menus.
Here is a vegetarian option with grilled eggplant, mango, carrot and lots of fresh herbs.
Be sure to have all your ingredients ready before you start rolling. If you make these ahead of time, store them on a damp towel in a covered container. Don't let the rolls touch each other or else they'll stick together.
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Preheat grill or a grill pan to hot.
1. Prepare peanut sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. If you’d like a slightly thinner sauce, add a few more tablespoons water.
2. Prepare rolls:Trim eggplant and cut it lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with the olive oil and grill until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Let cool. Cut eggplant into ½-by 2-inch pieces.
3. Place a clean, damp kitchen towel on a plate or cutting board. Fill a wide bowl with warm water (the bowl should be large enough to dip the wrappers in).
4. Immerse a wrapper in the warm water 5 to 10 seconds, until wrapper is pliable. Carefully lay it flat on the towel. In center of wrapper, place, in turn, a few leaves each of the mint, basil and cilantro. Add a few pieces each of the mango, grilled eggplant, cucumber and green onion and a large pinch of grated carrot. Be careful not to overfill the wrapper.
5. To roll up wrapper, fold in left and right sides over the filling. Take edge closest to you and tightly roll away from you, from bottom to top, like a cigar. Set roll seam side down on a platter or baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap as you repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
6. Serve immediately with lettuce leaves and peanut sauce on the side. To eat, wrap a lettuce leaf around a summer roll and dip in the peanut sauce.
Makes 16 rolls
Peanut ginger sauce: starts with
¾ cup unsweetened smooth peanut butter
Rolls: starts with
2 medium Japanese eggplants
Reprinted from Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl by Pierre Thiam with Jennifer Sit (Lake Isle Press, 2015). © Pierre Thiam
Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl published 2015 and Yolele! Recipes From the Heart of Senegal both by Pierre Thiam.