Cook Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 20 minutes
80 grams / 3 oz of dried rice vermicelli
12 sheets of rice paper 22 cm/8.7 inch
12 large prawns (can be substituted with shredded carrots)
120 gm / 4 oz of pork belly (can be substituted with fried tofu)
1 head of lettuce such as iceberg or butter lettuce
1 bunch perilla leaves (available at most Asian markets but can be substituted with Japanese Shiso leaves or Thai Basil leaves)
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch chives cut into 5cm/2 inch strips
For Hoisin Dipping Sauce:
125 ml / 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
125 ml / 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk (may be substituted with cows milk)
1 finely chopped birds eye chili.
3 teaspoons of roasted crushed peanuts.
1. First you want to prepare your dipping sauce and set aside.
2. Next you want to prepare all of your rice paper roll ingredients and have everything ready before beginning to assemble the rolls.
Hoisin dipping sauce:
1. Do these steps in this order to prevent the sauce from curdling. Mix the Hoisin sauce and white vinegar together in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat. Mix through the milk. Continue to stir until sauce starts to lightly boil. Turn off heat and allow sauce to cool.
2. Serve with finely minced chili, or pickled chili for a less spicy sauce.
Rice paper rolls:
1. Cook the rice vermicelli by placing in boiling water for 4 minutes, stirring frequently, be careful not to break the vermicelli or get any stuck to the bottom of the saucepan.
2. After 4 minutes turn off the heat and let the noodles stand in the saucepan for a further 4 minutes. Strain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Leave to dry for at least 30 minutes.
For Vegetarian option:
1. Cut up the fried tofu and shred the carrots into long thin strips to substitute for prawn and pork belly and set aside.
Shrimp and Pork version:
1. Bring a small saucepan filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the prawns, with shell on, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the prawns and rinse with cold water.
2. Peel the prawns and slice the prawns in two down the middle to form two half moons. Clear away the vein. In the same boiling water add the pork belly, when the water returns to the boil turn the heat to a low simmer for 15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.
3. Rinse the pork under cold water, trim the skin and fat and finely slice the pork.
To assemble rolls:
1. Fill a large bowl with warm water, dip one individual piece of rice paper in and soak the whole piece, turning the rice paper if needed.
2. Lay the rice paper onto a plate, shiny side down.
For vegetarian rolls:
1. Place two strips of tofu horizontally in the middle of the rice paper. Place two perilla leaves on top of fried tofu, lay three or four mint leaves and a small lettuce leaf on top of perilla. Place a small amount of cooked vermicelli length wise in line with the tofu. Place three pieces of shredded carrots in a row on top of the lettuce.
For shrimp and pork rolls:
1. Place two half pieces of prawn, orange side down, horizontally in the middle of the rice paper. Place two perilla leaves on top of the prawns, lay three or four mint leaves and a small lettuce leaf on top of the perilla. Place a small amount of vermicelli length ways in line with the prawns. Place three pieces of the pork in a row on top of the lettuce.
To roll the rice paper roll:
1. Take the lower part of the rice paper and pull it over the filling like a blanket, lift it over and roll it into the filling and make a log shape, pull the roll tightly, and start the rolling movement.
2. Fold the left and right sides of the rice paper and close the filling like an envelope and continue to roll. Roll it nice and tight so your roll won't fall apart when you bite into it. You also want to try to make each roll as similar in size as possible so that when you plate them they look uniformly perfect and appetizing.
3. When you are almost at the end of your roll, place 2 pieces of the chive into your roll ensuring half sticks out the end, close your roll. When rolling many rice paper rolls make sure you cover the rolled ones with a slightly damp towel or cloth because they dry out really quickly.
4. Cut each roll in half and serve with hoisin dipping sauce, two rolls per person as a starter is perfect.
Serving and Garnish:
1. Serve immediately or leave at room temperature for 1-3 hours under a damp towel to prevent from drying out.
2. Garnish with the crushed roasted peanuts, omit the peanuts if there are guests with peanut allergies.