Hardly anyone is immune to the charms (or lack thereof) of TikTok, so when my “For You Page” recently served me a storm of rice-paper-wrapped oddities, I decided to investigate. From Woon Heng’s deliciously dark and sticky mushroom version to the many variations of rice paper dumplings, I was intrigued by all of it. Fish proved to be a prime candidate for this technique–swathed in the rice paper, slivers of fish stay moist and cook without falling apart. When seared in hot oil, the rice paper turns delicately crisp with a mochi-like pull, offering a wealth of textures in every bite. Plan to eat these as they come off the heat for maximum contrast between hot and cold, and crackle and chew. —Shilpa Uskokovic
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lb. skinless salmon filets, preferably wild
Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. red curry paste
tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more
tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
Tbsp. fresh lime juice
8″ rice paper rounds
Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
Tender lettuce (such as Bibb or green leaf), tender herbs (such as cilantro, dill and/or Thai basil), thinly sliced radish, and thinly sliced Persian cucumbers (for serving)
Slice 1 lb. skinless salmon fillets, preferably wild, into about 3×1″ strips (they won’t all be perfect; that’s okay!). Toss salmon in a large bowl with 3 Tbsp. red curry paste, 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and 1 tsp. sugar to coat. (Using your hands to really get in there is the best way to ensure the fish is evenly coated.)
Stir 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar, and remaining 1 tsp. red curry paste in a small bowl. Season dipping sauce with salt.
Working one at a time, dip eight to twelve 8″ rice paper rounds into a rimmed baking sheet or shallow bowl filled with room temperature water; let soak until pliable but not floppy, about 20 seconds. Remove from water, shaking off excess, and transfer to a work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut rice paper rounds in half; arrange a strip of marinated salmon on each half. Roll up rice paper gently but tightly around fish (leave ends unsealed. Some fish may peek out and that’s fine). Transfer wrapped fish to a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet.
Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium. Working with 5–8 rolls, cook, turning often with an offset or fish spatula, until rice paper is crisp, golden brown, and blistered in spots, 6–8 minutes (fish will fully cook in this time); transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining rolls, adding remaining 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil to pan as needed. If rice paper rolls stick to the pan at any point, simply cook for a few more minutes until they release naturally.
Transfer rolls to a platter and arrange dipping sauce and tender lettuce (such as Bibb or green leaf), tender herbs (such as cilantro, dill, and/or Thai basil), thinly sliced radish, and thinly sliced Persian cucumbers around.