MAKES ABOUT 40
Like many northern Vietnamese dishes, these spring rolls are lighter than their southern counterparts. One subtle difference is the substitution of kohlrabi for the carrots typical in the south.
2 oz. vermicelli bean threads
1/4 cup dried cloud ear mushrooms
1 lb. ground pork
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 small kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled and
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 triangular rice-paper wrappers
(rounded edge about 9")
1 head leaf lettuce, washed and separated
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
Fresh mint leaves
1. Place cellophane noodles in a medium bowl, cover with hot water and set aside until soft, about 20 minutes, then drain and coarsely chop. Meanwhile, place mushrooms in a separate bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for about 10 minutes, then drain, squeeze dry, and mince. Combine noodles, mushrooms, pork, onions, and kohlrabi in a bowl. Mix well, stir in egg, and season with salt and pepper.
2. To assemble, fill a bowl with hot water, then soak 1–2 wrappers until just pliable, 15–30 seconds. Place softened wrappers on a dish towel, rounded edge towards you. Place 1 tbsp. filling 1" from edge, then fold edge over filling, fold sides in, and roll tightly. Repeat process, soaking and filling remaining wrappers; change water as necessary.
3. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Fry rolls a few at a time, turning to crisp evenly, 3–5 minutes. Drain. Arrange rolls, lettuce, cucumbers, and mint on a large plate. To eat, wrap each roll, with desired garnishes, in a lettuce leaf, then dip into Nu'ó'c Châ´M (Dipping Sauce).