Try this light version of a favorite finger food from Southeast Asia.
Preparation Time: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Yield: 8 x 1 roll servings
DIPPING SAUCE: In a small bowl or cup, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili paste, ginger, oil, and juice of one lime. Set the sauce aside.
RICE NOODLES: Place rice noodles in a large heat-proof container. Add boiling water to cover and let stand until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
WRAPPERS: To make wrappers, set out a round baking dish or bowl wide enough to hold a rice wrapper. Place a cutting board or large, flat plate next to it. Fill the dish or bowl with enough comfortably hot water to submerge a wrapper.
Using fingers to hold the wrapper along edges, submerge it in the water until it begins to soften, about 3 to 5 seconds (wrappers will continue to soften). Remove from the water and place it flat on the board or plate, allowing the edges nearest you to hang over the front side a little.
ROLLS: A few inches from the edges nearest you, arrange 4 cilantro leaves in a row from left to right, leaving about a one-inch space on each side. Place 3 carrot strips on top. Place 2 pepper strips end to end next to the carrots on the side farthest from you. Place 3 mushroom strips on top, then 3 scallion strips. Top with rice noodles to lightly cover.
Lift edge of wrapper closest to you and fold over the filling. Fold ends over the wrapper. Continue rolling, tucking in ends. Gently press in outer edges to help seal it. Place it on a serving plate. Make remaining wraps.
Rolls can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead if refrigerated (first cover with a damp paper towel, then with plastic wrap). Bring chilled rolls to room temperature before serving.
To serve, cut wraps into two or three pieces on the diagonal. Along with the dipping sauce, serve as an appetizer, snack or light entrée.
These are easier to make than they first appear. The trick is cutting everything very thin. Make and refrigerate them ahead, or put out the “fixings” and let guests have fun making their own wraps.
* Beginners often find using the larger wrappers easier to use, since they reduce the tendency to overfill wrappers while allowing more overlap. This prevents the contents from spilling out.