The pot is used to make Mai's Rice Rolls with Shrimp and Mushrooms. This traditional Vietnamese recipe is a favorite of Mai Pham, chef and owner of the Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento, California.
How to Make a Rice Roll Pot
Probably the most important thing about making a rice-roll pot is to find a soup pot that is 10 to 11 inches wide with a dome-style lid. It should have a protruding rolled rim to help secure a string in place. You will also need one round piece of smooth cloth (cotton or cotton blend is fine) at least 4 inches wider than the pot; some heavyweight kitchen string and a thin long metal spatula (about 12 inches or longer), a nonserrated carving or slicing knife, or a thin bamboo stick. You will also need a shallow ladle for pouring the batter.
Fill the soup pot halfway with water. Then, with someone helping you, stretch the cloth across the top with drumlike tightness. Secure with two or three loops of string, and tie into a knot. Pull the sides of the cloth again to stretch it as tight as possible. Using a very sharp paring knife or a razor blade, make three 1-inch-long slits crosswise in the cloth, about 1 inch from the edge. These incisions help distribute the steam for cooking the rice sheets and provide and opening for replenishing the water. Your rice-roll pot is now ready for action.