© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <email@example.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA
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Recipe from The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam, Bach Ngo and Gloria Zimmerman, Barron's, 1979.
½ pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
2 scallions, both white and green parts
½ pound pork butt
1 teaspoon nước mắm (fish sauce)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
10 dried rice papers (banh-trang)
For dieters or the cholesterol conscious here's an oven baked version of spring rolls. In Vietnam these are often baked over charcoal. Cut the shrimp into small pieces and sprinkle with the black pepper and the sugar. Slice the scallions crosswise into very thin slices. Slice the pork into thin pieces, 3 by 2 by ⅛ inch. Combine half the slice scallion with the shrimp and meat, the fish sauce and a dash of black pepper. Chop the garlic fine; place on a platter near the stove, along with the remaining scallions. Heat the oil and fry the garlic and remaining scallion briefly until they brown slightly. Add the pork-shrimp mixture and keep stirring over high heat until cooked, about 5 minutes. Cut or break the 10 rice papers into quarters. Place the cut rice papers on a flat surface. Using a pastry brush, or your fingers, paint water over the entire surface of each of the pieces; this is to make the brittle papers become soft and flexible. Try working an about 10 quarters at a time. This will help you work faster. While some of the wrappers become pliable, you can be filling the others. Place 2 pieces of shrimp and 2 small pieces of pork on the pointed end of a paper, arranging the filling in a square shape. Bend the pointed end over the filling and roll twice, then fold the sides over and continue to roll into a 2-inch-long cylinder about 1 inch thick. Place on a tray, with the open end on the underside to prevent unrolling, while you fill the remaining rolls. Place the rolls in the oven, directly on the oven rack, without preheating. (They can be crowded together while baking so that you can get many onto 1 rack.) Again, be certain to place them open end down; turn the oven to 350°F and bake them for about 40 minutes, 20 minutes on each side.
These can be filled several hours before cooking, covered with a plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Or they can be baked and then kept at room temperature for several hours. They never lose their crispness. Use bamboo chopsticks or tongs for turning the rolls.