If you weren’t already aware (how many times have I gone on about it now?) I have just been on a jaunt to Vietnam. Whilst there I partook in a cookery class. It was great fun and I even learned a few things too. The first dish they taught us to make was these little beauties. Although I have made them at home before they did not turn out quite how I expected. I have honed my skills and so now I can make far superior ones.
The key to making this dish is not soaking the rice papers for too long which was what I was doing wrong before. You can put anything you like into to these so let your imagination run wild, I just used what I found at my local supermarket.
Rice papers (They have these everywhere, Homeplus and small supermarkets)
1/4 Shedded carrot
1/4 shredded cucumbers
1/2 a sliced red pepper
100g of cooked rice noodles (I bought mine in the foreign food mart, but you could use any kind of noodles instead)
A handful of bean sprouts
10 king prawns or some cooked chicken or pork
Fresh herbs if you have them (Cilantro, mint or Thai basil work well)
Sweet chilli sauce for dipping (I’m not going to make my own, its a bloody monday but feel free to if you wish).
It’s up to you how many you want/ have the patience to make, but the ingredients listed will make about 20. Start by shredding the carrot on a mandolin if you have one (I got mine at Daiso), you could just as easily grate the carrot though. Chop the cucumber and pepper into long thin slices. The length of the slices should be about half the width of your rice paper. Then slice your king prawns in half lengthways (you can use any meat in these if you prefer). With all your ingredients close at hand you should be ready to go. Dip your rice paper into the water and rotate it so all the sides have been dipped into the water then take it out. If the middle is still dry rub some water on it with your fingers so that it’s also a little wet. Put your roll on to a plate with the edge hanging over the side of the plate closest to you. Start putting your vegetables on the roll in the middle on the side closest to you, two or three pieces of each max. Don’t be too generous with your stuffing, less is more in this case. They will be far easier to roll. After you have put the veggies on add the rice noodles and begin to roll. The picture below should give you a rough idea of the amounts.
Fold in the sides and add the king prawns with the color side facing down so it can be seen through the paper when you have finished rolling it. The trick of these is getting the paper soft enough to work with as when they are too hard they rip. In our cooking class we used the larger rice papers which I found much easier to work with, so in this case bigger is better. If my ramblings have confused you then here’s a video from youtube which should answer any questions you have.