Fresh spring roll, summer roll or salad roll is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of cooked shrimp, rice noodles, and plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables for flavour and crunch. Once your ingredients are prepped, the rolling fun begins as sheets of rice paper are softened in water and used for the wrappers. These light, fresh and healthy Vietnamese rolls are dipped in a lightly spiced bean sauce, and make a great light lunch or appetiser at any time of the day.
We have been making these rice-paper rolls at Restaurant 88 since 2006 and you can still find them on our menu after all this time. This is one of those dishes that does not go out of fashion; in fact, it only gets better over time as we introduce new and exciting ingredients and flavours.
For the dipping sauce
- ½ cup water
- 3 tbsp salty bean sauce
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp chilli-garlic paste
For the rolls
- 100g dried rice vermicelli
- 16 sheets rice paper
- 24 cooked prawns, shelled and sliced in half
- 200g boiled pork belly, sliced
- 1 cup beansprouts
- Fresh mixed herbs — mint, Thai basil, coriander, chives, Vietnamese mint
- Some lettuce leaves, cut into quarters
- First make the dipping sauce: simply put the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and boil until the sauce thickens slightly.
- To make the rolls, start by cooking the rice vermicelli according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Fill a shallow dish large enough to hold the rice-paper wrappers with hot tap water. Working with one wrapper at a time, completely submerge the wrapper until it is soft and pliable (about 15 seconds). Remove the wrapper from the water and place it on the worktop.
- Working quickly, lay three prawn halves in a row, cut side up, just above the centre of the wrapper, leaving about 2cm of space on each side.
- Layer a scant ¼ cup of the rice noodles over the shrimp, followed by some pork, a few beansprouts, two mint leaves, two basil leaves, one sprig of coriander, and some Vietnamese mint and lettuce.
- Fold the bottom half of the rice-paper wrapper over the filling. Holding the whole thing firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in to the middle.
- Then, pressing firmly down to hold the folds in place, roll the entire wrapper horizontally up from the bottom to the top.
- Repeat with the remaining wrappers and fillings.
- If not serving immediately, keep the rolls tightly covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 hours. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Makes 16 rolls