Diary of a Foodie

“Finger” Fish Rolls

Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Vietnam: The Taste of Simplicity

Makes2 1/2 dozen hors d’oeuvres
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:1 hr
May 2008
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For fish fingers

  • 15 (8 1/2-inch) round rice-paper wrappers (spring-roll skins)
  • 1 lb skinless catfish fillets
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • About 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

For dipping sauce

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer

Make fish fingers:

  • Cut rice-paper rounds in half with kitchen shears and wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Cut fish into 2- by 1/2-inch strips. Whisk together egg yolk, garlic, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then add fish, tossing to coat.
  • Stir together rice flour and water in a wide shallow bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip a semicircle of rice paper into rice-flour mixture to coat (rice-flour mixture will need to be stirred occasionally) and place on work surface with cut side nearest you. Let stand until wrapper is soft enough to be folded. Put 1 piece of fish in middle along cut edge of wrapper. Fold in sides over fish, keeping cut side of wrapper aligned (left corner of wrapper should touch right end of fish and vice versa). Roll up wrapper, then transfer to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining wrappers and fish. For any very thin pieces of fish (from near tail), stack 2 pieces.

Make dipping sauce:

  • Stir together all ingredients until sugar has dissolved.

Fry fish fingers:

  • Heat 1 inch oil to 370ºF in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Fry fish fingers in 3 batches, turning occasionally, until they begin to turn pale golden around edges, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 370ºF between batches.)
  • Serve fish fingers immediately, with dipping sauce.
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