To start, head to the Asian section of your grocery store and pick up some rice wrappers. These are thin, translucent discs that become pliable when wet.
You can fill these with just about anything you like. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
thinly sliced pepper/cucumber/mushroom
I used some lettuce, grated carrot, cilantro, scallions and peanuts.
Prep all of your ingredients first. Boil the noodles per package instructions and chop all your veggies.
Take one rice wrapper and dampen it entirely by running under the faucet with warm water. Place on your work surface and let sit for about 20 seconds, until it starts to feel pliable and slightly sticky.
Break off some noodles and line them up a couple inches from the top. Add the rest of your ingredients, being careful not to overfill too much.
Continue until all your filling is used.
Supposedly, you can deep fry these — I’ve never had much luck with this, however; they always fall apart on me (I am suddenly remembering why it has been so long since I’ve made these — the last time was a disaster)! The trick is apparently to avoid too much moisture on the rolls, which is difficult when you have to get them wet in the first place. Luckily these taste pretty good fresh.
You could serve these with just some soy sauce, hot chili sauce, whatever you have — but you can also easily make some delicious dipping sauce.
These recipes are adapted from Passionate Vegetarian.
Restaurant-style dipping sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2-3 chopped scallions
Whisk first six ingredients together and garnish with scallions just before serving.
Thai crystal/Nahm Jeem Gratiem
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced garlic
2+ tablespoons crushed red pepper
Combine sugar, water, vinegar and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer about 20 minutes, until syrupy. Stir in crushed red pepper (I found the 2 tablespoons to be only slightly spicy). Keeps indefinitely in a jar in the refrigerator.
Mmmm. So refreshingly delicious!