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Thursday, July 22, 2010 12:59 am

Crab and mango summer rolls

  • 1/2 lb. crabmeat
  • 6 oz. thin rice noodles a.k.a. vermicelli
  • 1/4 c. seasoned (sushi) rice wine vinegar
  • 3 T. light brown sugar
  • 4-5 scallions, cut lengthwise into 2-inch slivers, OR garlic or regular chives OR chives cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1-2 ripe mangoes, preferably Adolphos, cut into very thin slices
  • 1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, cut into 2-3-inch lengths and then into very thin slices
  • Mint, cilantro and (preferably Asian) basil leaves
  • 12 rice paper wrappers, approximately 9 inches in diameter, (Bánh Tráng), plus additional in case of breakage

In a large bowl, stir the vinegar and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. They’ll be softer than normal. Drain, then toss with the sugar/vinegar mixture and set aside to cool.

Have the filling ingredients cut and ready at hand before assembling the rolls.

Fill a large shallow bowl with tepid water. Place a lint-free towel next to the bowl. The towel’s surface should be larger than the rice wrapper. Place a single wrapper in the water. Let stand just until almost soft and pliable. The time will vary depending on the wrapper brand and water temperature, but start checking after 10-15 seconds. Place on the towel and let drain for a few seconds. Put on a flat surface. Place about 1/4 c. noodles in a horizontal layer on the upper third of the wrapper, leaving an inch border. Add about 2 T. of the crabmeat in a strip at the base of the noodles, then add a couple slices each of the cucumber and mango, a few scallions slices or chives and herb leaves. Don’t overfill! Fold the wrapper top over the filling and fold in the sides. Roll the wrapper tightly over one turn to completely enclose the filling. Place a couple herb leaves on the wrapper, then finish rolling into a cylinder. These may be made ahead, covered with a damp towel and refrigerated until serving. Or serve the ingredients in separate bowls and let each diner roll their own. Makes 12 rolls.

Serve with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.

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