Fresh Spring Rolls
60 g/2 oz/1/2 cup dried shrimp
1 cup soaked rice vermicelli
1 or 2 chillies, finely sliced
3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon shredded salted radish
8 rice paper sheets
16 small cooked prawns (shrimp),
shelled and deveined
about 48 mint or basil leaves
shredded carrot and white radish
4 tablespoons sugar
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
finely sliced red and green chilli
1 tablespoon lime juice or vinegar
Soak the dried shrimp in hot water for 10 minutes, drain and chop. Measure out the rice noodles after soaking them in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain well and chop into short lengths. Mix shrimp and noodles with chillies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Simmer the shredded radish in water for a few minutes to remove excess salt. Drain and mix with noodles.
Dip a sheet of rice paper in warm water and lay on a flat surface until it softens. Place 2 prawns to one side of the rice paper and then a heaped tablespoon of the noodle mixture. Cover with about 6 basil leaves and a small piece of lettuce. Bring the ends of the rice paper together and roll up, enclosing the filling firmly, then arrange on lettuce leaves with the prawns showing through on top and the seam underneath.
Garnish with fine shreds of carrot and giant white radish, and serve with a clear sauce made by stirring all the ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
Note: Salted radish is sold in plastic packets. It has a reddish brown color because it is partially dried.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)