Fresh rice paper rolls are a traditional Vietnamese dish, but they are served in a lot of Thai restaurants as well. Cooked shrimp, crisp veggies and fresh herbs such as basil and mint are wrapped up together in pliable rice paper sheets and served with a simple Vietnamese dipping sauce. You can substitute any vegetables you like or use chicken, pork or tofu in place of the shrimp. Some of the ingredients called for here will require a trip to the Asian market, particularly the rice paper sheets. They are hard, brittle and semi-translucent when you buy them and will most likely be found near the rice or dried noodles. These rolls can be a bit challenging to make at first but are well worth the effort. They are a refreshing alternative to fried egg rolls and make an absolutely perfect addition to any summer meal or fancy dinner party.
Fresh Rice Paper Rolls
Mixed Seafood with Red Coconut Curry Sauce
Sesame Green Beans
Steamed Jasmine Rice


3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 or 2 small fresh chilies, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 ounces rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
8 round rice paper sheets, 8 to 10 inches in diameter
5 to 6 leaves of green leaf or romaine lettuce, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, finely julienned
1/2 of a cucumber, seeded and julienned
16 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, and cut in half
1 cup thai basil, mint, or cilantro (or a combination of each), roughly chopped

Cooking Instructions

Combine the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, and garlic in a small bowl and set aside as a dipping sauce.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the soaked rice vermicelli for a minute or so until soft. Drain, rinse in cool water and drain again.

Fill a small pan or wide bowl with warm water. Soak one rice paper sheet for a minute or so, until soft and pliable (do not soak for any longer than necessary or it may become too soft to use.) Lay the wrapper on a plate or other flat surface. Place a small handful of lettuce in the bottom third of the wrapper. Add an approximately equal amount of rice noodles. Top with a neat row of carrots and cucumbers and 4 of the shrimp pieces. Finally, sprinkle with some of the herbs. Fold the bottom of the rice paper sheet up and over the vegetables and then fold in the two sides. Continue rolling upwards, keeping the wrapper tight around the ingredients but being careful not to tug so hard that the wrapper tears. Place the roll seam side down on a plate and cover with a slightly dampened paper towel.

Make the remaining rolls in the same manner. Cut each roll in half with a sharp knife and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.

Makes 8 rolls



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elliemay's blog

These rolls typically don't keep well so it is best to make them just before serving. If you must make them ahead of time, place them in an airtight container lined with a damp paper towel and store for no more than 2 hours in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator where the rice paper wrapper will become tough.)

The rice paper rounds are quite delicate once they have been soaked so you will likely tear a few before you get accustomed to the wrapping technique. Rest assured, you will figure it out and then making the rolls will be no problem at all.

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