Can you say “wrap?” Good. Now say "rice paper" . . . and you’re on your way to the most incredible taste sensation. The thing about meat, be it chicken or beef or pork or duck or quail, is that is can never be (or shouldn’t be) crunchy.
And the mouth craves crunchy! And the mouth also craves raw, sometimes . . . one gets tired of cooked, cooked, cooked.
So, we made incredible vegetable wraps—some would call them un-fried spring rolls—last night, and here is how you can, too.
Rice-paper wraps. These are usually disks, large or small, that look like translucent glass and are stiff and dry. You get them at your friendly Asian food store.
Shrimp, declawed and deveined, sautéed in sesame oil and garlic and julienned
Carrots, julienned (into matchsticks)
Red, orange or yellow pepper, julienned
Green onions, white part only, sliced lengthwise into long shards
Snow peas, threaded and both ends removed, sautéed briefly and then julienned, with
Shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly and sauteéd with the snow peas.
Cilantro, washed, leaves separated and patted dry
Serrano chiles, julienned (optional)
Get all your mise in place. Best to line up all the ingredients next to each other, assembly-line style. Have a clean kitchen towel at the ready. And go!
Put the rice paper disk in warm water for about thirty seconds. It’ll take a few tries to get used to how it handles. Quickly place the ingredients one by one , starting with the cilantro, on the bottom third of the rice paper disk. Roll the bottom up over the vegetables, then fold in the sides. Then complete the roll. You now have a vegetable wrap.
For dipping sauce:
1/4 cup orange juice, pulp included
2 tbsps. soy sauce
3 tbsps. mirin
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsps. Asian chili sauce, such as sambal oelek or chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp. nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients thoroughly, let stand 30 minutes to blend before serving.