Vietnam, its people and its food are hard not to love. I spent 3 weeks there and found the worst part of my trip was leaving to come home. Vietnam is a land full of treasures, if you’ve yet to experience it – put in on your bucket list for 2014. I promise you, its worth exploring.
Fresh, healthy, fast and delicious are just some of the words I would use to describe the country’s food. One of my favourite treats was Vietnamese rice paper rolls – or fresh spring rolls as some people refer to them as. These little parcels of goodness are packed with an abundance of fresh herbs, meats, noodles and vegetables and are surprisingly easy to make. I rustled these up for dinner last night in about 25 minutes, but you could also easily serve these at a party or as an entree at your next dinner party – they really are wonderful and I’m yet to meet a person who doesn’t enjoy them.
One of the highlights of making these is that they are so easily adaptable, don’t like seafood? Then just use chicken or pork! Don’t like noodles? Then substitute with some cabbage and extra herbs. Seriously guys, these are totally tailorable to your tastes and sometimes experimenting is half the fun! Ive gone for a more traditional take as I think its the best, but feel free to add/omit as you see fit.
20 large raw, peeled prawns
1 can of coconut milk
1 block of rice vermicelli noodles
4 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
4 sprigs of coriander
1 small bunch of chives, cut into 5cm lengths
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 avocado cut into lengths (may need more depending on how thick your slices are)
1 soft lettuce, ½ shredded
12 rice paper wrappers (have a few extra in case you make more)
For the dipping sauces:
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 green chilli, finely sliced
3 Tbs Hoisin sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs chopped roasted peanuts
- Bring a small pan with the coconut milk to the boil. Add the prawns, turn down the heat and poach for two minutes until pink. Drain and cut in half lengthways.
- Put the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave for about four minutes until soft and cooked, then rinse well in cold water and drain thoroughly.
- Set out all the ingredients within easy reach of a clean, dry chopping board. Half fill a bowl big enough to fit the wrappers in with warm water, and then dunk one in and gently move around until it’s pliable, but not completely soft. Lay flat on the chopping board.
- Top with three prawn halves in a horizontal line, and top these with a line of your mixed herbs. Add a pinch of carrot and a few cucumber sticks, avocado, shredded lettuce and then a small clump of rice vermicelli.
- Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly up over the filling, and then fold the sides in over it (just like wrapping a present). Continue to roll up tightly and place on a plate, join-side down. Cover rolls with a fairly damp paper towel to keep moist.
- Once all the rolls are made, make the sauces. Add the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, Sriracha, chilli and garlic to a small dipping bowl. The sugar should dissolve easily into the mixture.
- Mix together to Hoisin and vinegar, then sprinkle over a single line of the crushed roasted peanuts.
Enjoy! Best served immediately, although will keep fairly well over night if left covered in the moist paper towels and then covered in cling film.