Vietnamese Imperial Rolls Recipe

 

Introduction

They’re scrumptious, crispy and addictive! These little popular appetizers, also eaten as a main course, often never make it from the kitchen to the dinner table. I have to admit, the guests aren’t the only culprits, the one who cooks them also snatches a couple every now and then while preparing them.

Making them isn’t rocket science but it is a learning process. If you refer to one of my old posts on how to make a vietnamese roll, you’ll find it’s as easy as 1,2,3..4. Your first roll may be a disaster, or so you might think. But as a dear friend of mine would say “Mille fois sur le métier et remettez votre ouvrage”, in other words…practice, practice, practice and you’ll master roll-making.

You’ll notice vietnamese restaurants often use egg-based wrapping, instead of the traditional rice paper, to make imperial rolls, for the simple reason that they’re quick to use. There isn’t that extra step of soaking to do. For this recipe, I much prefer using the rice paper as I find it crispier, as opposed to crunchier, and it is much more flavourful.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup julienned carrot
  • ½ cup julienned jicama
  • 1/3 cup julienned green onion
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked to soften and chopped
  • 1 ounce dried bean thread (cellophane noodles), soaked in warm water to soften and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 6 ounces ground chicken
  • 4 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 12 rice paper rounds (6-inch diameter)
  • Cooking oil for deep-frying
  • Dipping Sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh red chili
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 head lettuce, washed and leaves separated
  • 1 bunch Vietnamese mint (rau răm)
  • 1 bunch mint sprigs

 

Instructions

  1. Combine carrot, jicama, green onion and salt in a bowl. Toss well and set aside for 20 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquid over a strainer and discard the liquid. Return mixture to bowl.
  2. Add mushrooms, cellophane noodles, chicken, shrimp, sugar, soy sauce and pepper. Mix well.
  3. To make rolls: Fill a large bowl with hot water. Dip one rice paper round into water bowl until fully moistened (rice paper round should be pliable and soft). Place rice paper round on a clean flat work surface. Place about 1/4 cup filling in center of round. Lift bottom edge of round up and over filling. Roll away from you, one turn, enclosing filling completely. Fold in left and right sides and continue rolling to form a tight cylinder. Repeat with remaining rice paper rounds and filling. (At this stage, rolls can be frozen and reserved for later, or cooked.)
  4. To fry: Heat enough oil in a wok or stir-fry pan over medium to medium-high heat to 325 degrees F. Add rolls, a few at a time, turning occasionally until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Lift out and place rolls on a paper towel-lined cooling rack or plate.
  5. To serve, cut each roll diagonally in half and arrange on a platter with lettuce, rau ram and mint. Serve dipping sauce on the side.
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