Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Makes about 24 pieces
½ cup fish sauce (nuoc mam), or ¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon minced fresh red chili
½ teaspoon hot chili oil
Note: Nuoc mam, the Vietnamese sauce made from fermented fish, and hot chili oil are available at Asian markets and specialty food stores.
2 ounces dried rice sticks
1 pound white chicken meat, ground
8 ounces crabmeat, flaked
½ cup minced scallions
¼ cup minced celery
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound wonton skins (if available, dried rice paper wrappers, 8 inches in diameter, are traditional)
Egg white for brushing skins
24 lettuce leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Make the filling: Break up rice sticks and soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain. Squeeze dry and coarsely chop. In a large bowl, combine all the remaining filling ingredients. Add the rice sticks and combine well.
To make spring rolls: Work with a few wonton skins at a time. Cover others to keep from drying out. Spoon 1 tablespoon of filling diagonally across and just below the center of the wrapper. Fold the bottom point over the filling. Fold in the side corners and roll to form a cylinder. Place seam side down on an oiled platter.
In a 5-quart saucepan or a deep fryer, heat 2 inches of oil to 370°. Fry spring rolls, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Serve with a platter of lettuce leaves, the mint, and dipping sauce. The roll is wrapped with mint in a lettuce leaf, then dipped in the sauce.