Son’s Vietnamese spring rolls

Son is a student at Ballymaloe who owns a restaurant in Hoi An in Vietnam and is hear to learn western cooking. He showed us how to make the most beautiful spring rolls with the fresh cod and Pollock we caught on our fishing trip, and filled them with whatever spare ingredients we could find. They are delicious and so easy!

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Ingredients

20 rice paper sheets
2 portions rice vermicelli or noodles
A big bowl of room temperature water

These Banh Trang ones are really good:

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Marinade

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot or onion, sliced across the rings
2 tsp turmeric
1 generous splash of soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce
Salt & pepper

Filling options

Chicken, prawns, squid or white fish (or a combination of these)
Carrots sticks, very thinly sliced or grated
Lettuce leaves, shredded
Small spring onions or chive leaves
Mango, sliced
Avocado
Mint, basil, coriander

Method

  1. Marinade the meat or fish for at least 1 hour
  2. Heat oil in pan, then add garlic and after 5 seconds, the onions
  3. After the onions start to colour, stir fry chicken, seabass, prawns and squid with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm
  4. Quickly dip the rice paper in the water and shake off any excess water. It’ll soften over time.
  5. Place the paper on a plate, then, at one end of the rice paper sheet layer lettuce, noodles, carrot, mint, basil, coriander, mango and the meat or fish (you can choose the combination). Keep the filling in a tight rectangle, with space on either side
  6. Then, tightly roll the rice paper around ingredients, turning once. Fold in the circular edges and continue to roll the spring roll (see image below)how-to-roll-spring-rolls-recipes-650-6
  7. Serve whole or cut into three pieces with fresh with dipping sauce.

For decoration, pop an extra piece of coriander or chive leaf into the roll after the first turn, with the end sticking out, then continue to roll so there is a nice plume of foliage sticking out. Alternatively, you can keep the meat or fish out and add after the first roll, so you can see it through the paper.

Vietnamese dipping sauce

A versatile base from which to make your own classic Vietnamese dip, dressing or marinade.

Son says a Vietnamese table is never complete without the addition of a closely guarded ‘secret’ family recipe dipping sauce. Countrywide, the basic sauce is the same, a simple mix of fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and water. It’s then that the ‘secret’ ingredients are added to taste.

 Ingredients

100g fish sauce
100g rice vinegar or lemon juice
100g brown sugar
150g filtered water

Traditional additions: Chopped garlic, chili, basil and crispy shallots, or garlic. Thinly sliced spring onion (optional).

Method

Using equal measures of fish sauce and rice vinegar, put all the ingredients in a bowl. Add a third measure of sugar and gently stir until it has completely dissolved and finalise with water. Then put whatever flavours you like in, such as chopped garlic, chilli, Thai basil, crispy shallots… to make your desired dipping sauce. Leave for at least half an hour for the flavours to infuse before serving.

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