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Vietnamese Fresh Rice Paper Rolls (with Prawns)

Assembling | Vietnamese Food

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Vietnamese rice paper rolls, known as goi cuon or bánh tráng, traditionally also contain strips of cooked lean pork belly – so add some if you like. Perilla is a member of the mint family and is also known as shiso, if it’s unavailable, use Asian basil or holy basil leaves instead.

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Makes 12 rolls

50g rice vermicelli
12 large (21cm) rice paper rounds 
12 cooked prawns, peeled, deveined and halved lengthways
¼ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup bean sprouts, tailed
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced into thin batons 
½ bunch mint
½ bunch perilla 
24 garlic chives, trimmed

Peanut Dipping Sauce
½ cup hoi sin sauce
½ cup water 
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (see notes)

Soak vermicelli in hot (not boiling) water for 5 minutes. Pour into a strainer and rinse well under hot water to remove excess starch, then leave to drain well.

Make Dipping Sauce: blend hoi sin sauce, water and peanut butter together until smooth. Pour into two small bowls and scatter crushed peanuts on top. Top with sambal oelek.

Half fill a shallow bowl with warm water and lay out a clean tea towel beside it. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water for about 15-20 seconds, until it starts to become pliable, then remove to the tea towel. Repeat with another sheet, laying it out beside the first.

Lay some noodles over the bottom third of each sheet of rice paper. Top with some lettuce, carrot, a few bean sprouts, a cucumber baton and 2 mint leaves. Roll (from the bottom) halfway, into a partial cylinder and fold both sides of the paper over the filling. Place 2 prawn halves, cut side down, on top of the roll, top with a perilla leaf. Place two garlic chives beside the roll on the flat part of the rice paper so that they protrude from the end of the roll. Continue rolling to form a complete cylinder. Trim the chives leaving about 4cm is protruding.

Place completed rolls on a plate and cover with a damp chux. Repeat with remaining rice paper sheets two at a time.

Cut rolls in half on a slight diagonal, arrange on a plate and serve immediately with Peanut Dipping Sauce on the side.

Notes:

Sambal oelek is an Asian paste of salt and chillies, a quick way to get a chilli kick into any dish, not just Asian ones; substitute 1 small red chilli finely chopped if you prefer.

 
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