Nem, nem, nem. I can’t get enough of them! There are many types of spring rolls out there but I’ve always adored “Nem rán” the most popular rolls in northern Vietnam.

Though they can take some time to put together, the end result is a beautifully crispy roll packed full of savoury goodness. If you’re not sure where to head to buy the ingredients, you can find them in most Asian food stores.

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

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 of 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

Dipping sauce ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 120ml water
  • 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Optional: chillies

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, and white pepper and stir.
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4. 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 a paper towel on the side to soak up excess water.

5. Soften your rice papers in the water for about 30 seconds and place them on the chopping board (if you leave them in any longer they tend to tear apart and it’s hard to seal them).

6. 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.

7. Then fold both sides inwards over the mix, 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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    8. In a large frying pan heat enough oil so that it’s about 1cm in height on medium heat (wait until it starts to sizzle).

    9. 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).

    10. Drain the rolls on a paper towel and serve with dipping sauce.

      Image of spring rolls (nem ran)

      (Your springrolls should be crispier than the ones I made above! I was just eager to start chowing down)

      Dipping sauce:

      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 chillies if you wish).
      3. Enjoy with your crispy rolls!

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