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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.