The Frugal Foodie: Peek-A-Boo Shrimp Rolls

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Photography by Howard Lee Puckett; Styling by Virginia Cravens-Houston and Judy Feagin

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Makes 12 rolls

In this recipe, a mere half-pound of shrimp is stretched into 12 tasty rolls. The pretty, pink shrimp is visible through the thin rice-paper wrappers, giving you the sensation that you’re eating lots of luxurious shrimp, but the roll is really filled out with inexpensive noodles and veggies.

• ½ pound uncooked, unpeeled shrimp
• 6-ounce package rice noodles, broken into 6-inch lengths
• ½ tablespoon sesame oil
• 12 round (8-inch) rice-paper wrappers
• 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
• 1 large carrot, julienned or shredded
• 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
• ¼ cup thinly sliced basil or chopped cilantro
• Dipping Sauce (see recipe below)
• Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add shrimp and boil until bright-pink, approximately 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove shrimp to a cutting board. Allow to cool, then peel and cut into ¼-inch slices.

2. Add rice noodles to the boiling water and cook until soft, approximately 3 minutes.

3. Place a large bowl with a sieve set over it in the sink. Drain noodles in the sieve, reserving the hot water in the bowl. Rinse noodles with cold water and place in a large bowl. Toss noodles with sesame oil.

4. To assemble the rolls, soak a rice-paper wrapper in the reserved hot water until soft, approximately 30 seconds. Lay the softened wrapper on a cutting board. Put slices of shrimp in a single row lengthwise down the center of the wrapper, leaving about 1½ inches at the top and bottom. Layer the noodles, bean sprouts, carrot and lettuce on top of the shrimp. Sprinkle with basil or cilantro.

5. Fold the top and bottom of the wrapper over the filling. Then, starting at one side, roll tightly.

6. Make Dipping Sauce (below) and serve, garnished with cilantro.

Dipping Sauce

• ½ cup Asian fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl or lidded jar. Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Lara Starr and Lynette Shirk’s book, The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook (Viva Editions), was released in September 2009. 

Click here for the main article,  The Frugal Foodie: 8 Recipes .