Let’s get Rolling: My Asian Rice Paper – Seafood Rolls

I have an inexplicable attraction towards rolled food. Be it the legendary Kolkata kathi rolls, sushi rolls, cinnamon rolls, or even a chicken roulade. And this of course extends to Vietnamese spring rolls too! Those translucent little sticks, packed with bursts of flavours and a dozen textures, are a joy to eat. So when I saw the rice paper sheets at the supermarket, I wasted no time in picking one off the shelf.

However that sudden burst of energy died soon after I exited the supermarket, and the packet of rice sheets stayed put in the shelf for a while. Finally, after weeks of procrastination, got down to business and made some Vietnamese style Rice Paper Rolls, and was pleasantly surprised with the end product.

This recipe required no oil, and hardly requires any cooking at all. The only cooking I needed was the boiling of the shrimps. For the filling I used a tangy noodle salad, lettuce, shrimps and crab sticks. I personally prefer seafood with the rice sheets over any other protein but plan to experiment with a chicken mousse filling sometime soon.

Rolling of the sheets may seem to be a little tricky, but after softening the rice paper sheets in water for about half a minute, it was pretty easy to roll them up. A few tricks which may come handy:

– Submerge individual sheets in water for around 30 seconds to a minute to make them malleable before rolling

– Wet the board on which you are rolling

– Don’t put too much or too little filling, find the right amount

– Start by placing the filling not at the middle, but towards one side of the round sheets

– After one roll, neatly tuck in the sides, before rolling further. Refer to the video below to understand this better.

The Noodle Salad filling I made had Shimai or vermicelli noodles with chopped coriander leaves and spring onions, raw mango cubes, grated carrot, yellow bell pepper slivers, chopped green chillies, generous dash of lime juice and salt. I would have ideally preferred glass noodles, but was too lazy to go all the way to New Market to get glass noodles, so used ‘shimai’ instead (BigBasket doesn’t stock it either😓).

Had these beautiful, translucent rolls with two dips. One was a store bought Sweet Chilli sauce. The other one was a mixture of roughly broken peanuts, BBQ sauce and vinegar, and tasted brilliant 😎.

I had rolled way too many and couldn’t finish off all these at one go. Storing these wasn’t too difficult. I kept them in the fridge in a box with a lid. When I took them out again the next day, the covering sheet was dry and looked inedible. I poured some water into the box, to almost submerge the rolls and left that for about two minutes. And there they were, back in all their glory!

I loved these so so much that I decided that this is the recipe that I start my brand new ‘Quick Cooks’ section with!

Keep Chomping 😀

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