The flavours and textures in this Vietnamese recipe from Luke Nguyen really pack a punch, with the crispy crab, pork and mushroom parcels served on noodle salad with fresh herbs, nuoc cham and crunchy garnish. Yum!
- 40 g (1½ oz) dried wood ear mushrooms
- 40 g (1½ oz) bean thread vermicelli
- 1 jicama, peeled, julienned
- 200 g (7 oz) minced pork
- 200 g (7 oz) freshly cooked crabmeat, picked
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 20 dried round rice paper wrappers (20 cm/8 inch diameter)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 500 g cooked rice vermicelli
- 1 large handful perilla
- 1 large handful mint
- 1 large handful Vietnamese mint
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) nuoc cham
- 3 tbsp fried red shallots
- 3 tbsp roasted peanuts
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.
Soaking time 20 minutes
Put the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 20 minutes, then drain and thinly slice. Soak the bean thread vermicelli in water for 20 minutes, then drain and cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) lengths.
Place the sliced jicama in a muslin cloth and squeeze out its juice then discard.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, vermicelli, jicama, pork, crabmeat, onion, sugar, sea salt, white pepper and fish sauce.
Knead the mixture in the bowl for 10 minutes, or until your arms get tired.
Working with one rice paper at a time, submerge the rice paper briefly in a large pan of warm water (or just wipe with a very damp cloth) then transfer it to a work surface.
Take 1½ heaped tablespoons of the mixture and place it on the bottom edge of the rice paper. Fold the two adjacent sides, one on top of the other, into the centre.
Roll the apex to form a nice firm roll, and secure with a dab of egg white. Repeat until you have filled all the rice papers.
Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Fry the parcels in three batches for 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.
Distribute the rice vermicelli noodles among 4–6 bowls, top with sliced herbs then cut the parcels into the bowls.
Pour 2 tablespoons of nuoc cham to each bowl and garnish with fried shallots and peanuts.