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These fresh-tasting rolls can be cut in half and served with a nuoc cham dipping sauce; or cut them crosswise into 1-inch pieces for a playful take on sushi. They can be made up to 2 hours ahead.

Chef Spike Mendelsohn prefers to double the rice paper wrappers for easier rolling, though we found one wrapper per roll sufficient. He also recommends a coarse chop for the herbs, to maintain their freshness in the recipe.

Cho Saigon Market in Falls Church’s Eden Center sells shredded pickled daikon, a mild Japanese variety of white radish. It is available in bulk in the produce section or in quart containers mixed with shredded carrot. Consider it a Vietnamese slaw that provides crunch and a nice balance of sweet and pungent.

It’s easy to add shreds of smoked tofu, duck confit, crisped pork belly or grilled shrimp.

Adapted from a recipe by Spike Mendelsohn.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Step 1

    For the dipping sauce: Combine the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic and hot chili sauce in a medium bowl.

  2. Step 2

    For the rolls: Boil a kettle of water. Place the noodles in a large bowl, then pour the just-boiled water over them just to cover. Let steep for 1 to 2 minutes, then drain. Let cool slightly, then pull the strands apart to keep them from sticking. Use a little of the dipping sauce to season the noodles.

  3. Step 3

    Fill a wide shallow bowl with warm water. Glide one rice paper round in the water a few times until it mostly softens but is still somewhat stiff. Layer it on a work surface, where it will look translucent.

  4. Step 4

    Layer a small pile of each of the following ingredients in order, on top of each other in a 3-inch horizontal strip: vermicelli noodles, lettuce, bean sprouts, herbs, daikon radish and carrot. Lift the end of the paper closest to you and fold it over the pile of ingredients, tucking it under closely to the far side of the roll. Fold in the sides of the rest of the rice paper wrappers, then roll away from you until the spring roll is formed; it should be about 1 inch in diameter, fairly tightly rolled. Be careful not to overstuff the roll, or it will tear.

  5. Step 5

    Repeat with the remaining rice paper wrappers and ingredients.

  6. Step 6

    To serve, cut the spring rolls in half on a slight diagonal and arrange on a plate, with the open ends facing up. Serve with a small bowl of the dipping sauce.

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (with 2 teaspoons sauce)

  • Calories

    372

  • Fat

    1 g

  • Carbohydrates

    84 g

  • Sodium

    1021 mg

  • Protein

    5 g

  • Fiber

    4 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted from a recipe by Spike Mendelsohn.

Tested by Spike Mendelsohn and Becky Krystal.

Published October 21, 2008

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