One of the dishes I missed terribly when I first arrived in Britain was the Vietnamese spring rolls (also sometimes called summer rolls in English). You can find them everywhere in France. Most of the Chinese restaurants serve Vietnamese food over there.
So When I saw spring rolls on the menu of a Chinese restaurant in England I gladly ordered them; however I was in for a huge disappointment as I ended up with deep fried vegetable filled chinese rolls. Horror!! So there, I decided to make my own..
The other thing I miss is the Vietnamese nems, but these are deep fried so I won't be making them since I can't stand deep frying smells in my dear kitchen (which has no window)...
It's a healthy, fun, and tasty starter. You can get the guests to roll their own for fun if they have never tasted them before, They'll love that! And you don't need to cook anything, which is the super bonus. You can have them as a starter or as a main...
You will need:
Vietnamese rice paper
You will need for the filling:
- Prawns (pre-cooked and de-veined)
- Optional: dried Chinese Black mushrooms that you will have soaked earlier - I personally prefer without
- crystal noodles (also called vermicelli) that you will have soaked in warm water for 20 min.
- beansprouts (if you have time, cut the dry ends)
- lettuce leaves
- grated carrots
- fresh mint
You will need for the presentation and to eat with it
- more lettuce leaves and mint
For the dipping sauce:
- 1 tablespoon Nuoc Mam (the Vietnamese fish sauce, very different from the Thai one)
- 2 tablespoon lime
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- crushed peanuts
- a little bit of finely chopped garlic
- a little bit of finely chopped red chili
- some grated carrots for presentation
Dip the rice paper individually for 5 second in a plate of warm water. in another plate, fill on one side of the rice cake and as a line with: lettuce leaf, then mushrooms, noodles, 2 leaves of mint, beansprouts, and a bit of grated carrot; a bit further and parallel (in the middle of the rice paper in fact), place 2 prawns.
Start rolling from the filling (not the prawn side) side of the rice pape, roll tight, and when you reach the prawns. fold the sides of the cake perpendicular to the filling lines. When you have finished rolling, you'll notice that the roll stays in place since the rice cake is a little sticky.
Put aside and roll the next one.
Be careful when you roll as the filling (especially the beansprouts if they are fresh) can tear the rice cake as it is a little fragile. Make sure you don't dip the rice cake too long or it will become too brittle.
I did not take photos of how I rolled them, so you can see the live action in a video I found on youtube (In french but who cares, you don't need the sound).
Serve the rolls with the green leaves and the dipping sauce (just mix the ingredients).
Et voila, it's fresh and lovely, and easy to put in the bento or bring to work for a healthy tasty lunch!
The ones on the picture I made with some cooked chicken instead of shrimp for a friend who can't eat seafood, but it's honestly not as good!
I am expecting some great comments from Marjolaine to improve the recipe: she's a champion of Vietnamese spring rolls according to a gourmet spy friend of mine...
Source: many + my own experimentation with them...