Monday, May 03, 2010

Rice Paper Wraps

I have been eating versions of these little rolls for years and I have yet to get over the delight. They are cold - this still strikes me as amazing, not sure why. The translucent wrappers make the contents mysterious and beautiful and incredibly tempting. They always appear to be filled with treasure. Wrapped tightly they don't spill anywhere but rather are perfect for dipping into little bowls of sauce. They have the most extraordinary texture - the wrappers offer a very slight resistance to being bitten and then the filling is mostly raw and so is crunchy and slippery and soft cut through with generous amounts of herbs, in this case coriander and tiny speckles of heat from finely chopped chillies. Simply gorgeous.

Rice Paper Wraps

1/2 chinese cabbage, very finely shredded
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and picked over to lose their stringy tails
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
4 spring onions, topped and tailed then sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 large cucumber, peeled then sliced into very thin batons
1 large ( because they are milder) red and green chillies, sliced into thin rings
Serious handful of coriander leaves
1/2 cup raw peanuts, toasted till golden then roughly pounded in a pestle and mortar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
24 rice paper wrappers

Mix all the ingredients, except the wrappers, in a large bowl.

Fill a flattish bowl with hot water then soak a sheet of rice paper till it softens - a few seconds. Lay it flat on a board, put a line of filling down the centre, then fold over first one edge then the other, and finally the ends to make little parcels.

Put a piece of damp kitchen paper onto a plate and put the finished roll on top. This will stop them drying out. Keep making rolls and adding them to the plate till all are done.
Refrigerate for an hour or so then serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Seriously summer on a plate.

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