Recipe: Homemade Vietnamese spring rolls

There are many types of spring rolls in Vietnam, but the ones I’ve always adored are “Nem Ran”, which are the most popular rolls in the north.

Though they can take some time to put together, the end result is a really crispy roll that’s jam-packed full of goodies.

If you’re not sure where to head to buy supplies, you can find the ingredients in most Asian food stores – I know that recently Tesco have been stocking wood ear mushrooms and they have white crab meat too.

Here’s my recipe for homemade spring rolls and their traditional dipping sauce Nuoc Cham – good luck!

Makes about 14/15 depending on the size of your rice papers (I tend to use medium/small wrappers)

Spring roll ingredients:

  • 200g white crab meat
  • 250g pork mince
  • 2 fresh spring onions
  • 150g vermicelli noodles (soaked until soft in hot water)
  • Handful wood ear mushrooms (soaked for 15 minutes until re-hydrated)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • A packet of circular rice papers
  • Oil (for frying)
  • Salt
  • White pepper

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Dipping sauce ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Optional: chilies

Method:

  1. Combine the pork, crab meat, wood ear mushrooms and spring onions in a bowl.
  2. Drain your noodles well and then chop them finely.
  3. Add your noodles into the bowl with the meat mix and season with fish sauce, salt, white pepper and stir.

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  1. For the next part I usually use 2 large plates, (one with the lukewarm water and one for placing the finished rolls on) and a chopping board, with paper towel on the side to soak up excess water.
  2. Soften your rice papers in the water for about 30 seconds and place on the chopping board (if you leave them in any longer they tend to tear apart and it’s hard to seal them).
  3. Place a small spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the wrapper and wrap the rounded edge on the bottom, up over the mix.
  4. Then fold the both sides inwards over the mix edges and roll up into a cylinder. Place the roll onto a plate and continue stacking them on top of each other.

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  1. In a large frying pan heat enough oil so that it’s about 1cm in height on a medium heat (wait until it starts to sizzle).
  2. Fry the spring rolls for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp, but place them apart so they don’t stick (be careful with the oil, I usually place a splash gauze over the pan).
  3. Drain the rolls on a paper towel and serve with dipping sauce.

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Dipping sauce method:

  1. Place the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and water in a small dish and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add garlic and lime juice, and stir to combine (add chilies if you so wish).
  3. Enjoy with your crispy rolls!

(Images and recipes copyright of Úna-Minh Kavanagh)

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