Spring Rolls

(Nem Ran)

Spring Rolls
Like many northern Vietnamese dishes, these spring rolls are lighter than their southern counterparts.
Yield: makes About 40

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. vermicelli bean threads (cellophane noodles)
  • 14 cup dried cloud ear mushrooms
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 small kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 triangular rice-paper wrappers (rounded edge about 9")
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 head leaf lettuce, washed and separated
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  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'o'c Cha´M (Dipping Sauce)](http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Vietnamese-Dipping-Sauce-21391828)**.