You can make shrimp and vegetarian rolls in advance or set things out and invite everyone to roll their own. The prep work is all done ahead of time, so all you have to do is lay out the building blocks (fresh herbs, crisp vegetables, shrimp, salty-sweet dipping sauces) and let guests go to town.
1 pound large shrimp (about 16 to 20), in shells
12 ounces rice vermicelli (rice stick noodles)
1 small head napa cabbage, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
7 medium carrots, sliced into ribbons with a spiral cutter (alternatively, cut into 1/8-by-3-inch matchsticks)
2 English cucumber or 8 Persian cucumbers cut into 1/2-by-5 inch wedges
2 English cucumber or 8 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/2-by-5 inch wedges
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
6 scallions, dark-green tops only (reserve white and pale-green parts for Mango Salad)
1 bunch fresh Thai or Italian basil
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 package (12 ounces) 8-inch rice-paper wrappers
Nuco Cham and Peanut Dippin Sauces for serving
Sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste) or spicy chili sauce, for serving
- Bring 1-inch water to a boil in a large, deep, straight-sided skillet. Submerge shrimp; immediately remove from heat and cover. Let stand 3 minutes; drain. Let shrimp cool, then peel. Cut in half lengthwise and devein.) Shrimp can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day.)
- In a large bowl, pour boiling water over vermicelli and soak 15 minutes; drain and rise. (Vermicelli can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day.). Divide into equal portions.
- Submerge cabbage and carrots in 2 separate bowls of ice water for 30 minutes; drain. Place alongside cucumber, avocados, scallions, basil, mint, cilantro, shrimp, and noodles on a platter.
- Pour at least 1-inch warm water into a bowl slightly larger than rice-paper wrappers. Submerge 1 wrapper in a warm water until pliable but still firm, about 20 seconds.) Replace warm water as necessary.) Transfer to a plate.
- Place a layer of fillings on bottom third of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Top with a portion of noodles and another layer of fillings. Fold bottom of wrapper tightly over fillings.
- Roll once, tuck in sides, and finish rolling. Transfer roll to a plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel; repeat steps 4 through 6 for remaining rolls. Serve with dipping sauces, or refrigerated for up to 2 hours.
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