Friday, October 3, 2008

Crackling Rice Paper Fish Rolls

The rice in this dish is in the rice paper wrappers, which manage to hold their shape during cooking, yet almost magically dissolve in your mouth when it comes to eating. Recipe makes 12.


12 Vietnamese rice paper sheets, each about 8 x 4inches/20 x 10 cm
3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour mixed to a paste with 3 tablespoons water
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Fresh herbs, to garnish
For the filling:
24 young asparagus spears, trimmed
8 ounces (250 g) raw shrimp (prawns), peeled and vein removed
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
3/4 inch (2 cm) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lime or lemon rind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Make the filling. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Cut the shrimp into 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces.
2. Heat half of the oil in a small frying pan or wok and stir-fry the spring onions and garlic over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until soft. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and stir-fry the shrimp over a brisk heat for just a few seconds until they start to go pink. Add to the spring onion mixture with the ginger, coriander, five-spice powder, lime or lemon rind and a little pepper. Stir to mix.
4. To make each roll, brush a sheet of rice paper liberally with water and lay it on a clean surface. Place two asparagus spears and a spoonful of the shrimp mixture just off the center. Fold in the sides and roll up to make a fat cigar. Seal the ends with a little of the flour paste.
5. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fryer and fry the rolls in batches until pale golden in color. Drain well, garnish with herbs and serve.

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