These salad rolls are fun to put together, but allow yourself a few botches as you perfect your rolling technique. Serve with Chinese fresh prune sauce.
1 1/2 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
4 Boston Bibb lettuce leaves
2 medium carrots, washed and shredded
1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup mung bean sprouts, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
16 thin slices fried tofu or 8 medium poached shrimp, peeled, deveined and sliced in half
8 rice paper rounds (bahn trang) plus extras in case some tear
1. Cook vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions, usually 6 to 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
2. Organize your work station by lining up the bowls of fillings in the order you want to layer them: lettuce, noodles, vegetables, herbs and tofu or shrimp. Place a clean plate in front of you and a platter to the side.
3. Run one rice paper round under hot tap water, fully dousing both sides, and set on the plate. Fold one lettuce leaf in half, tear out the central spine, tear in half lengthwise, and set one half on bottom third of rice paper round. Place 1/4 cup noodles and 2 tablespoons each of carrots, cucumbers and sprouts on top. Leave a 2-inch border to the left and right. Bring up the bottom third of rice paper round just to cover filling and roll in tightly until snug. Fold in each side.
4. Place several leaves of each herb and 2 tofu slices or shrimp halves along the unrolled central portion of the rice paper, lining them up snugly along the partially finished roll. Roll another full turn or two until the package is a compact cylinder. The rice paper is self-sealing. Place on platter. Repeat to make 8 rolls in all.
Makes 4 servings
Recipe by Edible Portland
Photo by Leela Cyd Ross