These are meant to be served as appetizers, but I usually eat them for a light lunch or dinner. The noodles and the rice paper wrappers can be found in Asian markets.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. thin rice stick noodles or vermicelli, softened in hot water & drained
  • 24 round rice paper wrappers (about 8 inches in diameter)
  • 1½ heads Boston lettuce, cores trimmed, leaves separated, pressed to flatten, rinsed, & drained
  • 2 medium-size carrots, shredded or grated (about 1¼ cups)
  • ¾ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely shredded
  • ¾ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely shredded
  • ¾ lb. cooked medium-size shrimp, sliced lengthwise in half

SWEET & SOUR DIPPING SAUCE:

  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • juice of 3 limes or 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp. grated carrots

PEANUT SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
  • 1½ tsp. tomato paste
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. safflower or corn oil
  • 1½ tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. To make the dipping sauce, soak the crushed red pepper in the citrus juice for several minutes. Add the garlic, sugar, and fish sauce; stir to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a serving contained, add the carrots, and serve at room temperature. Refrigerated, the sauce will keep in a tightly covered container for up to 5 days. Makes about 2/3 cup.
  2. To make the peanut sauce, combine the peanut butter, tomato paste, hoisin sauce, sugar, and water. Blend until smooth. Heat a small saucepan over med.-high heat. Add the oil and heat, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper and fry for about 5 seconds. Add the peanut butter mixture, stir to blend, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerated, the sauce will keep in a tightly covered container for up to a week. Makes about ¾ cup.
  3. To make the spring rolls, heat water until boiling. Add the rice noodles, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Drain in a colander, refresh under cold running water, and drain again.
  4. Fill a pan with hot water and spread a cotton dish towel out on the work surface. Dip a rice wrapper in the hot water for 3 seconds and spread it out diagonally on the towel. Place a lettuce leaf over the lower third of the wrapper. Arrange 2 tablespoons of the noodles on top of the lettuce, then add a heaping tablespoon of the carrot shreds, and sprinkle mint and cilantro shreds on top. Fold over the bottom, roll over once to form a cylinder, folding in the two sides to form a neat package. Arrange 2 shrimp halves, cut side down, in a row across the wrapper and continue rolling up into a tight cylindrical shape. Place the finished roll on a serving platter and cover with a damp dish towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling ingredients. Serve with the 2 sauces.

Makes 24 rolls.

From “Asian Wraps,” by Nina Simonds.

Barbara Walch

Barbara Walch joined the staff of Plano Profile in August 1986 and currently serves as Food Editor and Associate Publisher, Community Relations. In addition to writing Dining In, a monthly food feature,...