When I came back from Singapore last month, I had made a pit stop to visit my girlfriends in Anaheim and Santa Monica, CA, before flying again to TN. While I was there, we went to an Asian store close to my girlfriend's home. I bought a few items (making sure not too many because I was not willing to pay for the access baggage.. hehe) and a package of Vietnamese deep fried spring roll wrapper was one of the them.
Vietnamese Deep Fried Spring Rolls are wheat-free. Serve them as appetizers or as snacks. To eat, each person puts a spring roll on a lettuce leaf, adding some of the herbs. Roll them up and dipped in the sauce before eating. Delicious!
7 1/2 oz very thin bean thread noodles (in small skeins, also known as cellophane or mung bean noodles)
2 oz dried wood ear mushrooms
1 medium shallot
2 garlic cloves
2 cups shredded carrots (4 to 5 carrots)
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (preferably from Phu Quoc)
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps salt
1 lb cooked crab meat, picked clean or coarsely chopped raw shrimp
25 pieces rice paper
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
About 6 cups vegetable oil
Put noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water by several inches. Soak, pulling noodles apart and stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Drain noodles and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces (you should have about 3 cups), then transfer to another large bowl.
Put mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water by several inches. Soak 15 minutes. Drain and rinse mushrooms thoroughly, then drain again. Trim off and discard any hard parts from mushrooms. Finely chop mushrooms. (You should have about 2 cups.) Add to noodles.
Pulse shallot and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, then add to noodles along with carrots, chicken, fish sauce, sugar, pepper, and salt. Pulse shrimp in processor until coarsely ground. (Do not overprocess or it will become pasty.) Add shrimp to noodle mixture. Mix with your hands until well combined. Chill filling, covered with plastic wrap, until cold.
Line 2 trays with wax paper.
Transfer one fourth of filling to a small bowl and keep remainder chilled, covered. Wet the rice paper in a bowl of water. Allow a few seconds for it to get pliable and then put in the filling. Do only one at a time. If you try to moisten them all at once, they will get mushy by the time you get to wrapping them. (lesson learnt!! My first few was mushy.. LoL!). Put about 2 tsp of the filling across the wider part of the wedge rice paper, or across each round rice paper, placing it about 3cm from the bottom edge. Roll the edge over the filling, then fold over the sides of the rice paper and roll up tightly. Place the seam side down on the wax paper. Do not stack the rolls.
Put the heat on medium-high so that the wrappers can puff up and become flaky, then they'll turn golden. By the time wrappers are crispy golden, the filling should be cooked. Fry rolls in batches of 5 or 6, keeping rolls apart during first minute of frying to prevent sticking, until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
Drain on a brown paper or paper towel and drain the rolls upright 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
To eat, wrap hot or warm rolls in lettuce leaves and tuck in mint and cilantro leaves. Serve with dipping sauce.