Vietnamese Imperial Rolls
8-inch, round, dried
mushrooms, small, dried
bean thread noodles
red hot chili pepper, dried
mung bean sprouts
squeezed through a garlic press
hot chili peppers
fresh or dried, seeded, finely minced
In 2 separate bowls, soak the tree ears and the bean thread noodles in warm water until soft and pliable, about 6 minutes.
Rinse tree ears and drain.
Remove and discard any hard centers.
Coarsely chop and set aside, drain the noodles and roughly chop into about 2-inch lengths; set aside.
Mix together the pork, garlic, shallots, fish sauce and pepper.
Add tree ears, noodles, carrots and bean sprouts; mix together with your hands.
Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce:
Combine garlic, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, chile and water; let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes, when ready to use, strain into a small bowl and add grated carrot.
Makes ½ cup.
To form spring rolls:
Combine warm water and sugar in a wide shallow pan (such as a cake pan).
Immerse 1 wrapper in the sugar water for a second and immediate immediately place it flat on the counter or on a wet, wrung-out, kitchen towel.
Let sit until it wrinkles and softens to a pliable skin, about 1 minute, sometimes longer.
Using your hands, shape 3 tablespoons of filling into a tight compact log, about 1-inch in diameter and 4 to 5 inches long.
Place the log along the bottom third of the wrapper.
Roll the bottom edge over the log, then roll it over the filling once more.
Make sure the wrapper is taut around the filling.
Fold the outside wrapper edges inward to enclose the ends.
Roll up to seal.
If there is a tear in the wrapper, bandage it with a soften softened rice paper remnant.
Set rolls seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel.
Continue making the remaining rolls.
To deep fry rolls:
Pour 2 inch inches of oil into a wok or deep-fat fryer.
Heat to 325 degree F.
Add a few rolls at a time.
Do not crowd.
Fry for 10 seconds.
Immediately increase heat to high (375 degree F).
Continue to fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove rolls to paper towels to drain.
Cut fried rolls crosswise into 1½-inch pieces .
Dip into sauce and enjoy as an appetizer.
Or, wrap rolls lettuce leaves with sprigs of coriander and mint.
Dip into sauce and eat as a light lunch or part of a multi course meal.
NOTE: If you're working ahead, place the rolls (unfried) on a tray with a sheet of plastic wrap be between each layer, and refrigerate them overnight, wrapped in plastic.
Don't keep them longer than 1 day.
Fried, cooled rolls may be sealed in airtight freezer bags and frozen for up to 2 months.
To reheat, thaw, place on a baking sheet and bake at 350℉ (180℃) F for 10 minutes.
First published: 1996-01-27 last updated: 2015-07-01