I’ve been wanting to play with these rolls ever since I first tried them from a restaurant back in high school. These rolls, from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, are light, require little-to-no cooking, and fun to make and eat. They are delicious with this peanut sauce (update: slightly less interesting tasting but easier and less expensive, we made this peanut sauce a few nights later and thought it would go just as well)though you can also serve it with simple soy sauce or fishless fish sauce. You can fill them with anything you want, but I’ll post what we put in them.
You have to be a bit careful with the rice paper wrappers, since they become mushy if you soak them too long, and can dry out if make them too far in advance. You’ll want to serve them immediately or wrap up well and serve within an hour. We did wrap up leftovers for the next day, and they were reasonable.
8 sheets rice paper wrappers, 10-12 in diameter (we used square ones that seemed easier to roll up)
4 oz vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft, then drained
1/2 package tofu, sliced into strips (we baked it at 400 degrees for an hour after tossing it with sesame oil and soy sauce)
2 scallions, cut into 2-in pieces and sliced lengthwise
2 carrots, finely julienned or grated
8-12 lettuce leaves
1/2 cp fresh mint leaves
1/2 cp fresh cilantro leaves (ours had gone bad, so we omitted it)
1/2 cp fresh basil leaves
lime wedges for garnish
1. Set up a work station. Lay out a damp kitchen towl on the counter and a large bowl of hot water (from the tap). Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water until soft, about 10 seconds. Lay it flat on the towl.
2. On the bottom third of the paper, spread 1/8 of the rest of the ingredients except for the limes in a line. Fold in the bottom edge and both sides, then roll in a tight cylinder – just like a burrito. The paper will stick to itself. Repeat for the rest of the rolls.
3. Serve immediately with lime wedges and dipping sauce or wrap in damp paper towles and plastice wrap.