Banh trang, sheets of rice wafers, always look so spectacular that you would think that they are difficult to work with. Nothing is further from the truth. They only need moistening and then you can fill them with all kinds of tasty things. A traditional Vietnamese filling is given here. You can also scatter a few chopped peanuts on the filling before rolling up.
8 x 22cm sheets of Vietnamese rice wafers
8 flexible lettuce leaves, such as butter lettuce
16 mint leaves
16 coriander sprigs
about 1.5 litres water
125g bean sprouts
100g thin rice noodles (dry weight)
24 medium cooked prawns
handful of chopped peanuts (optional)
Arrange the stack of rice wafers, lettuce, mint and coriander on the work surface. Bring the water to the boil in a large pan. Throw in the bean sprouts and turn off the heat after one minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bean sprouts to a colander, rinse with cold water and drain. Set aside with the other waiting ingredients.
Use the water in the pan to prepare the rice noodles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pull the noodles apart to make eight portions. Remove the prawns from the fridge.
Take a large shallow bowl and fill it with boiling water. Have a platter standing by. Lay a sheet of clingfilm on the work surface.
Take a rice wafer, dip it in the very hot water and lay it on the clingfilm. At this stage, it will be pliable, but will still be clear-coloured. Lay three prawns vertically along the centre then put a lettuce leaf on top. Lay a line of noodles and top with two mint leaves and two coriander sprigs, followed by the bean sprouts. Roll up tightly, tucking in the two ends when you get to the filling, to make a neat roll.
Lay the rolls on a platter (or individual plates if you prefer), so that the prawns are on top. Make sure that they don’t touch, or the moisture will make them stick.
Serve as soon as possible after filling. Serve with a dipping sauce or peanut sauce.