Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Photo by Bless Mercado
I first saw and heard of the above recipe from my good friend, Bless Mercado. She cooks this all the time as it is a great favourite of her Habibi (Sweetheart).
Anyway, it does look good in the photo, showing in their translucent wrappers. I googled for the recipe and found this one by the chef extra-ordinaire himself, Gordon Ramsey!
Below is his recipe.
Gordon: “On my last night in Vietnam I served these spring rolls as the first of seven courses. They work perfectly as an appetiser and look pretty impressive, too. For the best results you need to use the freshest ingredients. For extra crunch I have used baby gem lettuce, however, follow your palate to chop and change the ingredients in the rolls, such as using crab instead of the prawns, changing the pork for mushrooms or, if you don’t like rice noodles, add more lettuce and cucumber. The hoisin peanut dipping sauce is one of the most commonly served accompaniments to these rolls.”
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 300g pork tenderloin fillet, sinew removed and finely sliced
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the dressing
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
For the spring rolls
- 1 baby gem lettuce, washed, core removed and shredded
- Handful of coriander leaves, torn
- 12 sheets of rice paper, 16cm in diameter
- Small handful of Thai basil, picked
- Small handful of saw leaf or mint leaves, picked
- Small handful of coriander leaves, picked
- 200g cooked rice vermicelli noodles
- 12 chive flowers
- 12 cooked prawns, peeled, de-veined and cut in half lengthways
For the dipping sauce
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 red Thai chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 4–6 tbsp coconut milk
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
1. For the pork, mix together the sesame oil, five-spice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the pork strips and toss together to coat. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the pork strips for 2–3 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl to combine. Add the shredded baby gem and coriander leaves and coat well in the dressing.
3. Fill a large bowl with warm water and, one at a time, quickly dip in each sheet of rice paper, passing them through but not soaking them. Drain them flat on a clean, damp cloth. Do not over-soak or they will fall apart and tear when being rolled.
4. To make the dipping sauce, gently fry the garlic and chilli in a little oil in a frying pan for 2 minutes until softened. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 6–8 minutes until reduced by half, adding extra water if needed to loosen the sauce.
5. To make the rolls, lay all your ingredients in an assembly line. Take one rice paper sheet and lay it flat on a clean surface. Place the herbs on top and gently create a small pile of rice noodles on top (the pile should be long and narrow). Fold over two sides of the rice paper to enclose the filling and roll over once. Place the chive flower alongside the rolled up section. Take one strip of pork and two halves of prawn and lay them neatly alongside the chive flower – they should be positioned tightly against the roll. Slowly roll once again. Tuck the edge of the rice paper into the filling. To seal the roll, lightly brush the rice paper with warm water. (Make sure the filling is compact.) The prawn and spring onion should be visible through the rice paper. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets of rice paper. Cover with cling film to stop the rolls drying out. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Recipe © Gordon Ramsay from Gordon’s Great Escape Southeast Asia: 100 of my favourite Southeast Asian recipes