Have you had one of those fresh rolls often found in Vietnamese restaurants? Do you ever wish you could just dive into a whole pile of them and scarf them down until you pass out from pure bliss? I recently made them and found out what makes them so refreshingly delicious. Ready for this? It’s mint! Amazing.
- 10 large rice wrappers
- 2 ounces (1 bundle) of rice vermicelli
- 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro (standard grocery store sized bunch, exact amount doesn’t matter)
- 1/2 bunch of fresh mint (standard grocery store sized bunch, exact amount doesn’t matter)
- 1/2 bunch of Thai basil (standard grocery store sized bunch, exact amount doesn’t matter)
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned (or if you’re lazy like me, buy a bag of shredded carrots)
- 30 medium shrimp (3 per wrap) – if vegetarian, replace with 2 belle peppers, julienned.
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs hoisin sauce
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- A shallow pan or plate slightly larger than the rice wrappers filled with water (to dip wrappers in) *I had a special dipping device I bought from the Vietnamese grocery, but a pan or plate will do just fine*
- Cutting board and knife
- A cutting board or counter that is larger than the rice wrapper
- A pot to boil shrimp in
- Slotted spoon
- Mixing bowls
- Boil water in a pot. When the water is at a hard boil, drop in your shrimp. Boil about 2 minutes for thawed shrimp and 5-6 for frozen.
- Remove shrimp from pot and set aside to cool.
- Drop rice noodles in boiling water for about 2 minutes, when soft, remove and rinse with cold water. I just use the same pot and water I cooked the shrimp in, but you can use a new pot if you don’t want slightly shrimpy noodles.
- Prepare all your raw ingredients. Peel and julienne a cucumber and carrot (and 2 bell peppers if using), coarsely chop cilantro, mint, and basil.
- Whisk all the sauce ingredients together and put aside.
- Dip rice paper in water for a few seconds. Paper should still be very slightly stiff.
- Place paper on your cutting board. Place 3 shrimp in the middle of the paper.
- Put raw ingredients as you like, taking care not to overload the paper.
- Wrap the sides of the paper over the fillings and roll from the bottom (like a burrito).
- Store on a plate seam side down (shrimp side up) until ready to eat. As you can see from my photos, some of them got eaten in the process!