When I left Asia, I knew I would be homesick. It was hitting me hard yesterday, so I made these spring rolls. Are they authentic? Who the heck knows. Did they make me feel better? You betcha. (With a big nod to the movie, Fargo. If you haven’t seen it (nothing to do with Asia, by the way) it’s a classic. Find a way to see it.)
12 rice papers or spring roll skins
4 1/2 oz or 125g bean thread noodles (sometimes called glass noodles)
Big bunch of cilantro or fresh coriander
12 large shrimp or prawns
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup or 120ml rice vinegar
1/2 cup or 120ml water
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
3 hot red peppers
Pinch of sea salt
Shell and clean your shrimp. Hold them down straight with one hand and then push a satay stick up their hinies. This will keep the shrimp from curling up as they cook.
Gently steam them for just a few minutes, with the lid on, until they are cooked through.
Rinse them in cool water and then remove the stick. Slice them in half lengthwise.
Cut your cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and then cut out the seedy part with a sharp knife. Cut the cucumber into skinny lengths. You are looking for 12 skinny bits ideally.
Soak your bean thread noodles in very warm water for about 10 minutes. Rinse them with cold tap water and set aside.
Wash your cilantro thoroughly and spin dry.
To make the sauce, chop your peppers finely and then put all the ingredients into a small pot.
Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until it is reduced by more than half. Turn the fire off. It will thicken even more as it cools. Meanwhile, you can get on with assembling the spring rolls.
Start soaking the rice papers one at a time in a large plate just deep enough to submerge the rice paper.
|It's hard to see, but it's there!|
Once it is soft enough to fold easily (do not oversoak or it will also rip easily) transfer the rice paper – dripping excess water back into the original plate - to another plate.
Add one twelfth of your bean thread noodles into the rice paper. Top it with one shrimp (two halves), a thin of cucumber and a goodly bunch of cilantro.
Roll up from the bottom halfway. Fold over the two sides. Then roll up the whole thing. Voila! One fresh healthy spring roll.
How we eat them: Bite off one end of the spring roll, and spoon the sauce into the open end. Repeat with each bite.
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