A spring roll consists of shrimp (and sometimes pork), mint and other herbs, perhaps a few bean sprouts, and rice vermicelli—all rolled tightly in a paper-thin rice wrapper.
2 oz. thin rice vermicelli
8 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, and sliced in half lengthwise
12 oz. boneless pork loin or chops, pounded thin
1 large carrot, shredded
1 tsp. sugar
8 rice-paper wrappers, about 8 1/2 inches in diameter
4 large red leaf or Boston lettuce leaves, cut in half
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/2 c. fresh mint leaves
1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
Prepare noodles according to directions; set aside. Cook pork in boiling, lightly salted water for 20 minutes. Chill in cold water, and thinly slice into 1-by-2-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine shredded carrot with sugar; let stand 10 minutes.
Have a basin of warm water ready to moisten rice papers. Work with one sheet at a time, keeping remaining sheets covered with a barely damp cloth. Immerse each sheet in water, remove, and spread on a dry, smooth towel.
Lay one piece of lettuce on bottom third of wrapper. On lettuce, place 1 T. of noodles, 1 T. shredded carrot, a few pieces of pork, and a sprinkling of bean sprouts and mint leaves. Roll up paper halfway into a cylinder. Fold both sides of paper inward, enclosing filling. Lay two shrimp halves along crease. Place several cilantro leaves next to shrimp row. Keep rolling wrapper into a cylinder to seal. Cover finished rolls with damp towel while you fill remaining wrappers. Serve with Peanut Sauce (recipe below) Yield: 8 rolls, or 4 servings.
1/4 c. hoisin sauce (available at Asian import stores and at many grocery stores)
1/4 c. chicken broth or water
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and thinly slices
Mix first three ingredients, and garnish with peanuts and chili pepper.
From the July 1996 issue.