Fresh, light, and healthy, these Vietnamese spring rolls make for a delectable addition to any meal. Let our recipe guide you in making this satisfyingly flavorful dish.
(Makes 8 rolls / 40 mins)
16 large raw prawns
1 block of rice vermicelli (or one pack of fresh rice vermicelli aka “thick bee hoon”)
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into small rectangles
fresh herbs: mint, Thai basil, and cilantro
1 carrot, peeled and grated (or cut into very thin strips)
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 head butterhead lettuce
2 Chinese chives, cut into 7cm lengths
8 rice paper wrappers
For the dipping sauce:
4 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bird’s eye chili, finely sliced
1. Heat the oil on medium/high in a heavy, non-stick frying pan. Add the tofu, fry for 5 minutes or so on each side until brown and crispy.
2. Bring a small pan of water to boil and add the prawns, turn down the heat and poach for two minutes until pink. Drain, peel, and cut in half.
3. Cook the dried vermicelli noodles in a pan of boiling water for about 7-10 minutes, then rinse well in cold water, and drain thoroughly.
4. It is advisable to make the dipping sauce before wrapping the spring rolls, since the rolls easily dry out if they are not covered properly. Whisk the sugar into warm water to dissolve, add the fish sauce and lime juice, then the remaining ingredients. Adjust to taste.
5. Start by softening the rice papers: half-fill a bowl big enough to fit the wrappers in with warm water, quickly dip each rice paper for a few seconds, and lay on rolling surface such as a cutting board or plate.
6. Gather all your filling ingredients on plates: rice vermicelli, prawns, fried tofu, butterhead lettuce leaves, cucumber, carrot, and herbs. On top of the wrapper, put 2-3 prawn halves on a horizontal line and add some of the fried tofu. Top these with a line of herb leaves, cucumber, carrot slices, a piece of lettuce leaf, and then arrange one chive horizontally.
7. Finish with a small clump of rice vermicelli. Bring the top edge of the wrapper tightly up over the filling, and then fold in the sides over it. Continue to roll up tightly and place on a plate, with the joint side on its bottom.
Recipe by Kim Anh Doan
Photography by Franz Navarrete