Summer rolls

In commemoration of Tet/Vietnamese new year coming up in 2 weeks, and me, myself, coming from Vietnamese heritage, here’s one for your recipe book that never fails to please the crowd.

The great thing about summer rolls (which, just to clarify, are traditional rice-paper spring rolls before they get fried) is that you can make them completely personal; fill them with whatever you want! I filled mine with pork, prawn, and vegetables, and based my recipe from Thuy Pham’s. This woman is just about the sweetest Vietnamese chef ever to live, and she has a restaurant (The Little Viet Kitchen) in Islington that’s on my ‘places to eat’ list. But yes, as I said, mix and match as much as you’d like. My sister made herself one with just prawn, pork and noodles (no vegetables because eew who would choose to be healthy??).

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2/3 cucumber (cored)
  • large bunch spring onions
  • fresh herbs – lots!
    (I used mint, basil and coriander)
  • rice vermicelli noodles (if not pre-cooked, soak for 5 mins in hot water & drain)
  • prawns
    (sliced in half along the back)
  • pork
    (thinly sliced, I used loin)
  • rice paper rolls
    (mine were 22cm, I think, and I used about half of the 250g pack)

Ingredients (dipping sauce):

  • 6 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chillis, finely chopped
    (birdseye will do)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger
    (you can grate this, but I just chunked them and just let them infuse, I didn’t eat them)
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp peanut butter

CAUTION: this is extremely hot!

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This recipe is 100% gluten free (yippee! It was even tested on a coeliac), since it uses rice paper rolls (and no soy sauce! Though, if you’d like to use it, you’re more than welcome to)

To make this recipe vegetarian and vegan: leave out pork, prawns & fish sauce.

To make this nut-free: use vegetable oil instead of sesame oil, and leave out the peanut butter.

Method:
(Makes approx 35 medium-sized rolls)

  1. Finely slice absolutely all vegetables: carrots, cucumber, spring onions. (Iceburg lettuce would work well in this too.)
  2. Roughly chop your herbs.
  3. Prepare your summer roll rolling station; it’s so much easier when you’ve got everything prepped and ready next to you.
    NB: put a wet kitchen roll square onto your rolling board or the rice paper will stick to it!
    FullSizeRender
  4. Get your rice paper wet (you can dip it into a plateful of water, or put it the paper onto your board and wet your fingers, then smooth your fingers over the paper until it’s sticky).
  5. Lay down your prawn, pork, both, or vegetables onto the middle of the wrap, leaving plenty of room around all the sides.
    Tip: if using prawns, lay them skin-side down for extra presentation points 🙂
  6. Add everything else! That’s your herbs, (you can put all of them in, like I did, or pick and choose your favourites), vegetables and rice noodles.
  7. Wrap your roll. I’m going to try and leave picture-instructions below for how to do this (I tried to follow Thuy Pham).
  8. IMG_8489Keep going! The amount of ingredients I had made: 13 pork, 10 prawn, 4 pork&prawn, 7 veggie.

Method:
(dipping sauce)

  1. Add everything to a bowl and stir until combined.
  2. You’re done! (I’m going to mention again that this is a very fiery sauce.)

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I really hope you enjoy this one. Although it takes quite a long time to prep all the ingredients, it is so worth it. I think summer rolls are so understated – they’re so fresh and actually, pretty healthy, (since everything except for the meat is raw), plus that dipping sauce has a real kick that brings the whole thing to life. If that wasn’t enough, since you can put pretty much whatever you want into these bad boys, these can be everyone’s favourites!

Happy eating!

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