Last Updated on February 3, 2021 by Sandy Cadiz-Smith
Recently, I’ve been getting creative in my kitchen as a means of transporting myself to more exotic realms. Like Vietnam where all that fabulous food inspired me. I ate these Vietnamese prawn spring rolls practically every day, I just couldn’t get enough of their freshness and flavours. Also called summer rolls or salad rolls they are made using rice paper spring roll wrappers, which you can now get from most supermarkets in the UK. They’re easy to prepare, there’s no cooking involved and you can even get everyone to assemble their own.
The mix of fresh herbs, noodles, juicy prawns and crisp lettuce all wrapped up in a little parcel produces such great flavour and texture. I like to use Thai basil and mint, but you could substitute coriander if you’d prefer. Simply pull the leaves off the stems and leave whole for adding to the mix.
Today I used little gem lettuce, though any crisp lettuce, like iceberg for example, is good. Make sure you slice it finely. Noodles add bulk and another texture. Traditionally vermicelli noodles are used – buy them precooked to make life easier. Today I had some precooked egg noodles left over in the fridge, and not one to waste, I used them instead and they worked just as well.
I make a traditional fish sauce and lime dipping sauce which has a fabulous chilli bite, too. Today I also served hoisin and plum sauce, just because I felt like it. They make a lovely addition spread thinly on the rice paper before building up your filling.
I like to assemble and eat the rolls one at time – and get my dining companions to do the same. Everyone loves the ceremony of it and tailor-making their rolls to their own needs. Once you’ve prepared all the ingredients sit down with a bowl of warm water at your side.
Dip the rice paper rolls (which are sort of the texture of light cardboard at this stage) into the water for about 30 seconds until they soften. Then lay out carefully on a plate. Add the ingredients of your choice into the centre of the roll. Avoid the temptation to overfill it as you’ll find it difficult to wrap!
Once you’re done fold the rice paper in from each side over the filling. Then complete your parcel by bringing the top and the bottom together. Dip your finished roll into the dip of your choice and eat. It’s best done using your hands.
These zesty little rolls are light and healthy with their fresh zing of herbs. They’re also easily adaptable to a vegetarian version – instead of prawns add carrots and spring onions or bamboo shoots. They also work well with leftover roast chicken.
Love Vietnamese food like me? Why not try our recipe for a delicious chicken pho?
Here’s a printable version of the recipe for you to try.
Vietnamese prawn spring rolls
- 6 rice paper wrappers
- 150 g noodles cooked
- 250 g prawns cooked
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 lettuce finely chopped
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
For the sauce
- 2 tbsps fish sauce
- 3 limes juice of
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 chilli dried, crumbled
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Assemble all your fresh ingredients on a platter. Take the leaves off the stem of the mint and Thai basil. Chop the lettuce and the noodles.
- Make the sauce.
- Bring a bowl of hot water to the table. Add the rice paper in one at a time until they soften. Transfer to a plate.
- Start assembling your roll. Add the sauce of your choice first. Then take some of all the ingredients and place in the centre of the rice paper.
- Fold inwards to make a little parcel. Dip into your sauce and eat.