04/09/2012 by Mark Leach
It seemed like summer was on the way out yesterday, so we felt the need for some Asian food to remind us of warmer climes. And as luck would have it we stumbled on some Vietnamese rice paper and nuoc mam in the local supermarket. A quick trip to the market for fresh prawns and a delve through the fridge and allotment later and we had everything we needed for Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Vietnamese rice paper
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions (bulb and leaves), finely sliced
250g shelled prawns (or thinly sliced chicken, plain omelette, pork or beef…)
Bunch of fresh herbs (mint or coriander)
Half a lettuce (the crunchier the better), shredded or left in bite size chunks
Optional: vermicelli rice noodles (add these if you want to bulk-up the spring rolls – we didn’t)
Dipping sauce: Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese fish sauce) or Thai fish sauce, rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, finely chopped garlic and sugar. Add mint leaves, spring-onion leaves or finely chopped chilli if you like.
Ok, be prepared for some expert-chopping action as the trick to a successful spring roll is in the preparation.
Once you’ve cut your carrots, spring onions and prepared all the other fresh ingredients you just need to assemble the spring roll.
First of all fill a bowl with warm water. Large enough to dip your rice paper in. Have all your ingredients laid out in front of you then quickly dip the paper into the water – just for a couple of seconds. Now place it flat on a work surface (avoid wood – tends to stick) and place a couple of lettuce leaves on the top third – this will prevent the rest of the ingredients sticking through the paper.
Now place a pinch of the rest of the ingredients on top and you’re ready to roll. Tuck the ingredients in with your thumbs and fold the sides of the paper over the top. Then slowly roll it until you’ve got a neat, sealed, spring roll.
You should get about 8-10 spring rolls with the quantities above. Serve with the dipping sauce.