Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls
Fresh, light, healthy, and perfect for spring. Summer rolls are my go-to at this time of year, as spring rolls in and more and more choices of spring veggies start to appear at the farmers market.
The choice of veggies here is endless - this makes for a great "clean out the veggie drawer" kind of recipe. Just look for a range of colours and textures. Red cabbage is a great choice for both, as are carrots, bean sprouts, spring onions, and even fennel. I threw in some tofu and marinated shitake mushrooms for texture contrast, but Chinese style egg omelette or cooked kumara (sweet potato) would also be great choices.
It also makes for easy and fun entertaining when having friends over for dinner - just chop up some veggies and lay out onto a platter, with a stack of rice paper rounds and a bowl of water for everyone to assemble and wrap their own. Something a bit different always goes down well!
If you've never worked with rice paper before, don't be afraid. The rounds look and feel a little like plastic from the packet. Like vermicelli noodles, they soften quickly in water. For the rounds, you don't need long - 5 seconds in a shallow dish of warm water just to dampen is all you need. It will still be firm at this stage, but place on a plate or board and start assembling your toppings. By the time you're ready to roll, the rice paper will be nice and soft and ready to go. Then just wrap like a burrito!
Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls
Serves 4-6 (2-3 rolls per person)
A pile of mixed veggies - options include
- shredded raw cabbage, iceberg lettuce, mizuna or cress
- carrots and cucumbers cut into matchsticks
- finely shredded spring onions
- shredded endive or whitlof
- finely sliced fennel
- mung beans, rinsed and patted dry
A smaller pile of herbs - depending on what is in season and available in your area options include
- vietnamese mint
- thai basil
Something of substance - options include
- fried tofu
- marinated mushrooms (fresh shitakes or oyster mushrooms work well)
- Chinese style egg omelette
- roasted kumara or sweet potato
- sliced fresh mango
- cooked vermicelli noodles
Something for crunch
- fried shallots
- toasted peanuts or cashews
- toasted sesame seeds
A pile of rice paper rounds - bank on at least a couple per person
A dish of satay sauce to serve - use store bought, or try my recipe for life changing satay sauce
So this recipe is pretty easy - just chop up the veggies and assemble onto a large board or platter.
When you are ready to eat, place the platter on the table along with the stack of rice paper rounds. Fill a shallow dish with warm water (I used a deep-rimmed plate). Each person can then assemble their own rolls by taking a rice paper round and placing into the warm water. Let it soak for 5-10 seconds and remove before it is completely soft. Place the round on your plate and top with whichever toppings you prefer. Once you have finished picking toppings, the rice paper roll should now be completely soft and ready to wrap like a burrito.
Smother in satay sauce, and devour!