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Shrimp Summer Rolls
By Andrew Zimmern
For the Nuoc Cham:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fish sauce, or more to taste
- Juice of 2 limes, or to taste
- 1 fresh red chile, minced (use a hot one!)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and ground
- 3 tablespoons scallions, minced
For the Summer Rolls:
- 1 head romaine lettuce, in chiffonade
- 1/2 bunch mint, in chiffonade
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 8 ounces fresh bean sprouts
- 4 tablespoons peanuts, toasted and ground
- 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 2 cups rice stick noodles, cooked and cooled
- 1 pound cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
- Fresh garlic chives, cut an inch longer than the width of your final rolls
- 8-inch Banh Trang rice paper sheets
First, make the dipping sauce:
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small pan, cool.
- Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, chiles, ground sesame seeds and scallions. Reserve.
Next, prepare all of your spring roll stuffings:
- Julienne the lettuce.
- Pull leaves from mint and cilantro.
- Wash and dry the bean sprouts.
- Toast and grind the peanuts.
- Julienne the cucumber and carrots.
- Cook the rice stick noodle according to the directions on the package.
- Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise.
- Place all of the fillings on a tray, so it’s easy to grab them while you make your spring rolls.
Prepare rice paper sheets:
- Wet a paper towel and place on the counter or cutting board.
- Place one rice paper sheet on top of the wet paper towel.
- Top with another wet paper towel, and continue alternating paper towels and remaining rice paper sheets until you have a big stack in front of you. (Alternatively, you can work one at a time, allowing each rice paper to sit in warm water until soft.)
Assemble the rolls:
- Place refreshed rice paper on a work surface covered with a damp towel in front of you.
- Place a small portion of noodles on the bottom third of the sheet, along with lettuce, herbs, a pinch of ground peanuts, a scattering of bean sprouts, a couple pieces of julienned carrot and cucumber.
- Roll, burrito style, top to bottom, folding in the sides of the rice paper as you roll.
- Add the halved shrimp cut side down, after you’ve made the first rolling motion so when they are served you can see them through the translucent skins. Add a few chives at this point (they should be cut so they extend over the edges). Keep rolling the wrapper in a cylinder until it is sealed.
- Serve with the dipping sauce.