Clay's Kitchen : Nấu Ăn Việt Nam (Vietnamese Recipes)

Nấu Ăn Việt Nam (Vietnamese Recipes)

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Nem Cuốn (Fresh Spring Rolls)

Use whatever herbs and fillings are convenient, ensuring that you do not add too much, lest the rice paper sheets burst during rolling. Variations include substituting thin slices roasted pork loin for the shrimp; or bean sprouts and dried beancurd skin in a vegetarian roll.

12 sheets round rice paper, about 9 inch diameter, softened
12 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled and de-veined
3 ½ ounce packet dried rice vermicelli (bún)
12 Chinese chives — flat/garlic chives, cut into thirds, crosswise
12 leaves butter or Boston lettuce
12 leaves fresh mint, preferably peppermint

Soften the rice sheets by soaking each sheet, one at a time, in a pan of warm water. (A shallow roasting pan works well). Do not leave in the water to soak, rather, pass it through the water for a couple seconds, pat dry, then drain flat on the cloth. Leave for about 15 seconds, or until pliable — then use immediately. If stacking, place sheets of waxed paper in between, as the greater volume of water used in this variation may over-sodden the sheets.

Soak dried noodles in hot water for about 10 minutes, depending on thickness, or until just tender; drain. Alternatively, plunge dried noodles into a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 to 4 minutes; drain and refresh under cold water, drain again, and pat dry. Fresh noodles can be used directly from the packet.

Cut the chives crosswise into thirds or in half, each about 4 inches long. Remove the cores from the lettuce leaves. If using larger leaves, cut them about 2 inch wide.

Lay one softened rice sheet at a time on a damp cloth. Lay a coreless lettuce leaf on the softened rice paper, positioned lengthwise in front of you, and slightly off center, toward the bottom of the sheet. Top with a couple of mint leaves, and 1 heaped tablespoon rice noodles. Roll up tightly as described on previous page, folding first from the bottom up to enfold the ingredients, then bring the two sides inward; then roll to make a neat "cigar." Place 2 shrimp halves skin side down toward the top of the sheets, so that they clearly show through the final layer. Likewise, before the final roll, arrange 2 or 3 chive shoots to poke out about ½ inch from the folded end.

Cover with lightly moistened paper and plastic wrap to prevent the rice sheets from drying out. Serve with commercial fish sauce or bean sauce, or nước chấm.

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