These are commonly found in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and they are a great light and fresh alternative to the traditional crisp spring rolls. You can really adapt the filling to suit, and the shape too. The rice paper wrapper is just to hold the filling together and I've enjoyed eating these at The Viet Grill and Cay Tre in both rolled-up forms and also as a kind of open cone with lettuce leaves, which makes them into a really fresh and crisp snack or starter.
The wrappers used for these are dry and white with patterns from the matted bamboo they are dried on – not to be confused with spring roll wrappers as they are sometimes labelled.
10-15 rice paper sheets (allowing extra for casualties)
50g vermicelli rice noodles, cooked
4-5 spring onions, cleaned and shredded finely on the angle
A handful of herbs such as thai basil, mint, coriander, wild pepper leaves
Cooked prawns, pork, chicken of your choice
Crisp lettuce leaves such as little gems or iceberg
Lay a leaf of the lettuce on a flat surface and lay on the spring onions, a little of the vermicelli, the herbs and meat or prawns. Have a bowl of hot water ready large enough to dip the sheets into. Dip about 2 or 3 at a time for just a few seconds then lay them out on a clean work surface and leave them for a couple of minutes until the water is absorbed and they become pliable. You will need to work quite quickly and expect a few casualties along the way.
Wrap them in either cornet shapes, exposing the filling and folding the rice paper back, or wrap them tightly, folding the ends over so they look like spring rolls. Lay them on a tray until you have rolled the lot and serve immediately. Don't worry, it takes a while to get the technique right so a bit of practice before your guests arrive won't do any harm.
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