Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rice Paper Wrappers

One of my favorite things these days is Thai-inspired spring rolls. I am lucky enough to live close to Chinatown (east) in Toronto, and am contantly finding inspiration among these exotic ingredients. Rice paper wrappers, filled with wonderful fresh ingredients (or even leftovers re-invented)- limited only by your tastebuds and imagination!
Here is a basic recipe to start with:

2 ounces rice vermicelli
8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
Filling ideas:
-avocado, cucumber, crab, cilantro
-roast pork, lime, mango, red onion, cilantro
-shrimp, thai basil, bean sprouts, shredded carrot
(you get the idea)

4 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 minutes, or until al dente, and drain. Dress with some of dipping sauce.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the water for a few seconds to soften. Lay wrapper flat, on a wooden cutting board. In a row across the center, place ingredients ie: 2 slices of avocado, 2 strips of cucumber, cilantro, crab, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on each side. If wrapper is to slippery to fold, simply wait a few seconds til it gets sticky. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper (away from you), beginning at the end closest to you. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce.

Serve spring rolls, cut in half, with the fish sauce. If serving a large platter for a party, lay the cut spring rolls on a bed of shredded Napa Cabbage, sprinkled with cilantro.

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