Thursday, April 10, 2008

April 10: Shrimp and Coconut Rolls

When Dan and I were planning our wedding, Dan's adorably sweet and lovely mother generously took charge of our rehearsal dinner. I adore her, but possibly one of the most frightening moments of my life up until the point where, you know, someone started shooting at us the other night, was when my mother-in-law to be was discussing possible venues for the dinner, and she said "It's too bad Molly doesn't like Chinese food; we could have the rehearsal at a Chinese buffet." And then my head spun around on my neck. And I died. The end.

I'm not sure if she was just poking at me a little or what, but it's true: there are few things in life that appeal less to me than Chinese buffet. Acres of largely unidentifiable food is a problem. So is the vast array of artificial colors and flavors. So is the fact that it sits. around. forever. I just can't do it, even for my adorable mother-in-law.

But I love Asian flavors, real Asian flavors, good clean flavors like five-spice powder and cilantro and lemongrass and bird chiles and soy sauce and lime juice and nam pla. Bon Appetit appeared in my mailbox tonight, mysteriously, a subscription I didn't know I had, and right there on page 109 is one of the most inviting pieces of food porn I've ever seen: shrimp and coconut rolls, delicate little packages of goodness wrapped in glassy rice paper spring roll wrappers.

According to Bon Appetit, the more exotic ingredients can be found in Asian markets. You could probably mail-order some of them as well.

If only my mother-in-law's favorite Hunan Home Buffet served these, I'd be, like, so on board.

Shrimp and Coconut Rolls

10 ounces peeled cooked shrimp, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced iceburg lettuce
1 1/4 cups finely grated peeled fresh coconut
1/2 unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, seeded cut into 1/4 inch cubes (1 cup)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
6 teaspoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam), divided
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
3 teaspoons minced seeded red or green serrano chiles, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
15 8- to 9-inch diameter rice paper rounds (spring roll wrappers)

Combine shrimp, lettuce, coconut, cucumber, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 4 teaspoons fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons chiles, green onion, and mint in a large bowl.

Moisten kitchen towel. Squeeze out excess moisture and lay towel flat on work surface. Fill large bowl with warm water. Submerge 1 wrapper in water until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Place on damp towel. Place 1/4 cup shrimp mixture in 3-inch-long strip down center of wrapper. Fold in sides of wrapper over filling, then roll up tightly, enclosing filling. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

Mix 1/2 cup lime juice, 2 teaspoons fish sauce, 4 teaspoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon chiles in small bowl. Serve rolls with dipping sauce.

1 comment:

merseydotes said...

I got a mystery subscription to Bon Appetit last year too! And I got some really good recipes out of it. Hmmm...maybe I should actually renew it with my own money.