Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cambodian Summer Rolls

Though these are technically an appetizer, I decided to try them for dinner tonight. They're easy and don't really require cooking, so it seemed like it would be a good summer recipe to make.

The problem was that they were really soggy and hard to pick up. We ended up eating them with a fork and knife. In addition, the mint was really overpowering. I need to remember that in the future, because it seems that whenever I use mint in a savory dish, it overpowers the whole thing. Anyway, we were pretty disappointed with this. It tasted yummy, but it was just inconvenient to eat and not very impressive.

summer rolls

Cambodian Summer Rolls
Cooking Light, Sept 2007

Novato, California, reader Cathy Jo Belford sent us this Asian-inspired appetizer for the April 2002 column. The fresh herbs, sweet shrimp, slight spicy heat, and crisp lettuce offer well-balanced taste and texture.

Rolls:
6 cups water
36 unpeeled medium shrimp (about 1 pound)
4 ounces uncooked rice noodles
12 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 cups shredded red leaf lettuce
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint

Dipping sauce:
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1 garlic clove, minced

To prepare rolls, bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Peel shrimp; chill.

Place noodles in a large bowl; cover with boiling water. Let stand for 8 minutes; drain.

Add cold water to a large, shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place 1 rice paper sheet in water. Let stand 2 minutes or until soft. Place rice paper sheet on a flat surface.

Spread 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce in the center of sheet; top with 3 shrimp, 1/4 cup lettuce, about 2 1/2 tablespoons noodles, 1 teaspoon basil, and 1 teaspoon mint. Fold sides of sheet over filling, roll up jelly-roll fashion, and gently press seam to seal. Place roll, seam side down, on a serving platter; cover to keep from drying. Repeat procedure with remaining rice paper, hoisin sauce, shrimp, shredded lettuce, noodles, basil, and mint.

To prepare dipping sauce, combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Yield: 12 appetizer servings

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