These colorful lettuce wraps with shrimp mimic Vietnamese spring rolls. You'll find cellophane noodles—also called bean thread or glass noodles—and the other Asian ingredients used here at Asian grocery stores and most large supermarkets. Rice sticks or vermicelli may be substituted (follow package directions to prepare). If possible, use hydroponically grown Boston or butter lettuce sold in sturdy plastic containers that protect the leaves.
3/4 pound (16 to 20 per lb.) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package (3 3/4 oz.) cellophane noodles (see notes)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot chile flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 3 small limes)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
2 heads Boston or butter lettuce, cores trimmed and leaves separated, rinsed, and drained
1 large carrot, peeled, ends trimmed, and grated lengthwise into ribbons
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped
How to Make It
Put shrimp, salt, and pepper in a pot and add cold water to just cover shrimp. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until shrimp are bright pink and tails are curled, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a colander and let cool.
Put cellophane noodles in a medium pot and cover with hot water. Cover pot and set aside until noodles are softened, at least 15 minutes. Drain noodles and (using kitchen scissors) cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Return noodles to pot, drizzle with rice vinegar, and toss. Cover and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix chile flakes and lime juice and let sit several minutes. Add garlic, sugar, and fish sauce; whisk until sugar is dissolved. Transfer sauce to a serving dish.
To assemble wraps, arrange some noodles in the middle of each lettuce leaf and top with 1 shrimp. Garnish with carrot, basil, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Tuck up the bottom of each leaf and fold sides inward to eat. Drizzle with or dip into sauce.
I agree with the previous reviewer! This is a delicious dish. I added sesame oil, chili oil, and tamari to the sauce to give it a little more flavor. Also served it with some hoisin sauce for a little extra sauce option. I would also consider swapping white rice for the bean thread noodles since hey can get a little slippery.
I recommend this dish for a light healthy meal.
Pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. The crisp fresh flavors of the vegetables with the brinyness of the shrimp and the hot / sour / salty /sweet flavors of the dipping sauce are a perfect combination. We serve these as the meal for the two of us and as appetizer or small plate and wine pairing item for a larger group.
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