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Nem Rán (Spring Rolls)
About 40 spring rolls
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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