Like many northern Vietnamese dishes, these spring rolls are lighter than their southern counterparts. One subtle difference is the substitution of kohlrabi for the carrots typical in the south.
- 2 ounces vermicelli bean threads (cellophane noodles)
- 1/4 cup dried cloud ear mushrooms
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 1 small kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled and finely grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 40 triangular rice paper wrappers (rounded edge about 9 inches)
- Vegetable oil
- 1 head leaf lettuce, washed and separated
- 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- Fresh mint leaves
Place the cellophane noodles in a medium bowl, cover with hot water and set aside until soft, about 20 minutes, then drain and coarsely chop. Meanwhile, place the mushrooms in a separate bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for about 10 minutes, then drain, squeeze dry and mince. Combine the noodles, mushrooms, pork, onions and kohlrabi in a bowl. Mix well, stir in the egg and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble, fill a bowl with hot water, then soak 1 to 2 wrappers until just pliable, 15 to 30 seconds. Place the softened wrappers on a dish towel, rounded edge towards you. Place 1 tablespoon filling 1 inch from the edge, then fold the edge over the filling, fold the sides in, and roll tightly. Repeat the process, soaking and filling the remaining wrappers; change the water as necessary.
Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Fry the rolls a few at a time, turning to crisp evenly, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. Arrange the rolls, lettuce, cucumbers and mint on a large plate.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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