Vietnamese summer rolls with peanut-mirin sauce
These veggies wrapped in rice paper—thin, translucent sheets of rice-flour dough—are a snap to make and very beautiful to look at. Mirin is a sweet cooking wine that's traditionally made from fermented rice and grain alcohol. If you can’t find it in an Asian grocery or your liquor store, use 1 tablespoon sake (Japanese rice wine) plus 2 teaspoons sugar. Or, for a nonalcoholic version, just omit the mirin and add an extra teaspoon of sugar in Step 1. Translucent cellophane noodles, sometimes called bean threads, are made from mung bean starch. They have a slippery texture and are virtually tasteless, absorbing their flavors from the dishes in which they are cooked. They are sold in bundles in Asian groceries and some supermarkets.
½ fl oz
1 Tbsp, unsalted roasted variety
Uncooked cellophane noodles
1 cup(s), boiling
Rice paper wrappers
4 item(s), (8-inch) each
2 leaf/leaves, large, Romaine, halved, with ribs removed to make 8 pieces
1 medium, peeled, seeded and cut into long, thin strips
1 medium, peeled and grated
4 medium, peeled and grated
¼ cup(s), leaves
- To prepare the peanut-mirin sauce, combine the vinegar, mirin, peanuts, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
- Combine the noodles with the boiling water in a medium heatproof bowl; let soak 12 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Fill a large skillet with warm water. Soak 1 rice-paper round in the water until just pliable, 30–45 seconds. Pat away the excess water with a paper towel. Arrange 1 piece of the lettuce on the bottom third of the rice paper, tearing the lettuce to fit as needed and leaving a 1-inch border. Top the lettuce with one-fourth of the noodles, cucumber, carrot, scallions, and cilantro. Tightly roll the rice paper around the filling; after rolling halfway, arrange one-fourth of the mint along the roll, then continue rolling into a neat cylinder. Transfer to a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 rolls.
- With a serrated knife, slice each roll on the diagonal into 4 pieces. Serve with the peanut-mirin sauce. Yields one 4-piece roll with 1⁄2 tablespoon sauce per serving.
Look for rice paper in Asian groceries and better supermarkets (they’re often in the produce section with the Asian vegetables).