Vietnamese Herb-Wrapped Shrimp
While Sandy Nguyen, an activist and community organizer in New Orleans, refers to this dish as “sushi,” it’s closer to a ceviche, but wrapped in local herbs such as mint, sorrel, or purple shiso from community gardens along the Gulf. Seek out herbs with large leaves for this purpose. Roasted rice powder lends a subtle, nutty flavor to the lightly cooked shrimp, and is available in Vietnamese markets.
- 3 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 3 cups fresh, large herb leaves such as mint, shiso, or basil (or a combination), divided
- 1 medium red onion (12 oz.), halved and thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. Vietnamese roasted rice powder (Thinh Viet Nam)
- Soy sauce, for serving
- Prepared wasabi paste, for serving
- Fill a large bowl with ice water, and place it by the sink. Place a large colander in the sink.
- Bring a large stockpot of water to a full, rolling boil, then turn off the heat and immediately add the shrimp, stirring with a slotted spoon. Cook just until the shrimp are curled but still semi-raw, about 30 seconds. Strain, discarding the cooking liquid. Then transfer the shrimp to the ice bath. Strain and refrigerate until well-chilled and firmed, about 20 minutes.
- Strain the shrimp again, removing any ice chips. Return them to the large bowl. Add the lime juice, and toss well to coat, then set aside to let the shrimp pickle lightly in the juice, 2–3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely chop 1 cup of the mint or shiso leaves, leaving the largest leaves whole.
- Working in handfuls and changing paper with each batch, squeeze the shrimp firmly in heavy-duty paper towels to extract as much liquid as possible.
- Transfer the shrimp to a clean serving bowl. Add the onion, roasted rice powder, and chopped mint or shiso, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, with whole herb leaves on the side for wrapping, and soy sauce and wasabi for dipping as desired.