To make the perfect roll, Valerie Luu and Katie Kwan cook the filling ahead of time and wet the rice paper with their palms. The results: “Crispy, chewy and snowy white rolls!”
Slideshow:Tasty Vietnamese Recipes
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 pound ground pork
4 medium shrimp—shelled, deveined and minced
One 4-ounce red-skinned potato or taro root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 dozen 6-inch rice papers (See Note)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small Thai chile, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/3 cup water
How to Make It
Step 1 prepare the rolls
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring a few times, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon each of the fish sauce and sugar and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl.
Step 2 prepare the rolls
Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Using a slotted spoon, add the pork to the cabbage. Add the shrimp to the skillet and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the shrimp into the bowl of cabbage.
Step 3 prepare the rolls
Set a steamer basket in a medium saucepan with 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the potato matchsticks, cover and steam until just tender, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then add to the bowl. Mix well. Stir in the egg and ground pepper and mix again.
Step 4 prepare the rolls
Fill a shallow bowl with water. Working with 2 rice papers at a time and using your palm, rub the rice papers on both sides with water. Let the papers stand for about 1 minute, until softened; do not over-moisten or the papers may tear. Place a rounded tablespoon of the filling on the lower third of each rice paper and bring the bottom up and over the filling. Press tightly to enclose the filling and roll up, folding in the sides as you go. The rolls should seal themselves; if not, moisten with a little water. Place the rolls on a platter seam side down and repeat with the remaining rice papers and filling.
Step 5 prepare the sauce
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Step 6 prepare the sauce
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 320° over moderately high heat. Fry 4 to 5 rolls at a time, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking together, until they’re crisp but still white, about 6 minutes. Keep the oil between 320° and 350° during frying. Transfer the rolls to a rack set over a large baking sheet to drain. When all of the rolls have been fried, transfer them to a baking sheet. Warm them in the oven for 2 minutes. Serve the rolls right away with the dipping sauce.
Rice papers are available online or at Asian markets.
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