I’ve had a package of rice paper wrappers in my pantry for a couple years, thinking that I’ll use them and then never getting around to it. I try not to keep too many rarely used ingredients around but it does happen, despite my good intentions.
The recipe that finally got me moving is from Diana Henry’s book A Change of Appetite. Diana is a food writer from the UK and I shared another one of her recipes last year; Radicchio & Red Onions with a White Bean Puree . I want to cook my way through this whole book.
Rice paper wrappers are very easy to use and can be the “container” for all sorts of combinations of veggies, seafood, etc. The crowning glory of this recipe is the “nuoc cham”, a lime-based dipping sauce that is easy and incredibly addictive.
Rice Paper Rolls with Nuoc Cham
Makes 18 rolls.
18 rice paper wrappers
6 oz cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp, slice in half lengthwise
2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 peeled green mango, cut in batons (I used a mango that I thought wasn’t quite ripe)
1 cup bean sprouts
¼ cup fresh mint, or more to taste
¼ cup fresh cilantro, or more to taste
For Nuoc Cham:
4 garlic cloves
1 red chile, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp fine sugar
Juice of 3 limes, or to taste
1/3 cup Thai fish sauce
Fill a large bowl with warm water. Place the rice papers (one at a time or 2-3 at a time if you’re comfortable you’ve gotten a feel for it) in the warm water and let soften for about a minute. Remove from the warm water and place on a clean surface or a clean tea towel. Don’t leave them soaking for more than a minute or so.
To assemble the rolls, layer the filling ingredients down the centre of each roll, keeping in mind that each roll should be about the size of large sushi rolls. Wetting your hands so they don’t stick, roll the rice paper around the filling ingredients, tucking in the sides as you go. Place the finished rolls on a plate and cover with damp paper towels. The rolls can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.
To make the nuoc cham, place the garlic and chile in the bowl of food processor and process until fine. Add the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce and process another minute until fully incorporated.
Slice the rolls into 1-1 ½ inch pieces and serve with the dipping sauce.