Green rice prawns add a fantastic crunchy texture to these delicate rice paper rolls but are equally delicious served on their own with nuoc mam and a herb plate.
- 170 g (6 oz/1 cup) rice flour
- 200 g (7 oz) green rice flakes
- 2 litres (2 qts) vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 12 large green prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left intact
- 50 g (1 ¾ oz) bun (rice) noodles
- 12 medium round rice paper sheets
- ½ avocado, cut into 12 slices
- 1 bunch mint or Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
- 1 coral (frisee) lettuce, washed and trimmed
Nuoc mam dipping sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 brid's eye chillies, finely chopped or sliced
- 150 ml fish sauce
- 100 ml white vinegar
- 140 g caster (superfine) sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Whisk the rice flour and 125 ml (4½ fl oz/½ cup) water in a large bowl until smooth. Place the green rice flakes in a shallow bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 180°C (350°F) on a kitchen thermometer.
3. Skewer each prawn onto a bamboo skewer and gentle pull the prawn to lengthen it as much as possible. Dip a prawn into the batter, then roll in the green rice flakes until completely coated. Repeat with another two prawns, then lower the bamboo sticks into the oil and cook the prawns for 2–3 minutes until golden. Remove the prawns from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with the remaining prawns.
4. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and run under cold water until cool. Set aside.
5. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Lay the rice paper sheets, cooked noodles, avocado, mint, lettuce and fried prawns in front of you.
6. Dip one rice paper sheet in the bowl of water, turning over and making sure that the sheet is completely wet before shaking off any excess water. Lay the rice paper sheet flat on a clean workbench. Starting with the noodles, place a small quantity of each of the filling ingredients except the prawns along the middle of the rice paper.
7. Starting with the side nearest to you, carefully lift the rice paper over the filling, then roll the rice paper and filling away from you. Just before you finish rolling, add a prawn along the length of the roll so the tail hangs out one end, then roll up completely. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have 12 rice paper rolls.
8. Make the dipping sauce by combining the ingredients and 200 ml water in a bowl and stiring through until the sugar has dissolved. Makes 600 ml, the remainder can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe from Street Food Vietnam by Jerry Mai, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99