Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Green Leaf Lettuce Leaves
Julienned Carrot (approx. 2 Cups for 12 rolls)
Julienned English Cucumber (same amount)
Picked Mint Leaves
Picked Thai Basil Leaves
Extra Large Tapioca Sheets (Can be purchased at Choi’s Market on Herr Lane)
Medium Size Rice Vermicelli Noodles (I prefer 3 Ladies Brand, also at Choi’s)
1# Medium Size Shrimp (Peeled & Deveined)
This recipe is really more a matter of prepping and assembly rather than a whole lot of stovetop cooking. It’s a great project for the whole family or for a party of friends.
Bring a saucepan filled with water to boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook about 5 minutes until they are tender but still have some bite. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold running water until cool, then rinse them under very hot running water before rinsing them a second time under cold running water. This cold-hot-cold rinse prevents the noodles from sticking together and breaking. Set the noodles aside.
Bring another saucepan, (or the same one if you hate doing too many dishes) of water to boil and add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes until pink and curled, but not overcooked. Transfer the shrimp to an ice bath until cool then drain on paper towels and cut each shrimp in half horizontally. Set Shrimp aside.
Assemble all your ingredients within easy reach so you can work assembly-line style. Fill a large bowl or wide dish with very hot water. (Be careful not to make it too hot, as you will be dipping your hands in it) Working with 1 rice-paper round at a time, dip it into the hot water until it softens slightly but not all the way, as you fill it and start to roll it will continue to soften. Spread the softened sheet on your cutting board or work surface.
Lay 1 lettuce leaf over the bottom third of the rice-paper round. Top with your herbs, then carrot and cucumber and finally place a bundle of noodles on top. You can tear off a chunk of noodles with your hands, or use kitchen scissors to cut them. I usually just tear them.
Fold in the left and right sides of the rice paper, then lift the bottom edge up and over the filling. Tightly roll the rice paper away from you enclosing the filling completely THEN arrange 3 pieces of shrimp cut side up and end to end in a row on the rice paper. Continue to roll as tightly as possible until you reach the end of the rice paper. Keep covered with damp paper towel until you’ve made all your rolls. Unless you don’t eat them as you make them like I do!
Nuoc Mam or Nuoc Cham
¼ Cup Coconut Water (such as Zico)
1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 Red Chili, seeded & finely chopped (Fresno Peppers found at Whole Foods are great for this)
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed (small to medium cloves are fine)
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce (my favorite brand is called 3 Crabs)
Bring Coconut Water, Vinegar and Sugar to a bare boil and allow to cool, then combine the rest of the ingredients. Store in a lidded container in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of weeks. I usually make a large batch of this and keep some on hand. The sour/salty/sweet flavor of it is truly addictive.
This is a delicious sauce that can be used for those with children who have peanut allergies.
¼ Cup Tahini Paste
2 tablespoons of White Wine or Sake
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil (such as Kadoya Brand)
1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Chili Oil (or a small pinch of red chili flakes)
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water as needed to achieve sauce-like consistency. Taste and adjust any of the seasoning, as you like.