So I’m not expecting to be able to travel anywhere for some time. A shock to the system for someone who is always hopping on and off planes and visiting countries near and far. So I thought I’d take you on a culinary journey around the world, sharing some of my favourite recipes and discovering some new ones along the way. First stop Vietnam.
I’ve been to Vietnam twice and adore it. The people are incredibly welcoming, it’s scenically stunning and the beaches are to dream of. And best of all there’s the food – packed with fresh flavours. One of my favourites (and the one I’m going to share with you today) is the Vietnamese spring roll.
These delicious little packages are filled with fresh herbs and vermicelli noodles – two classic Vietnamese ingredients, as well as fresh prawns and lettuce for a bit of crunch. There’s no cooking involved and they are fun to assemble.
And they’re dipped into a spicy fish-sauce based dip that is typical of the country.
For the rolls
6 spring roll wrappers
150g cooked vermicelli noodles (I used Amoy Straight to Wok thread fine noodles)
250g cooked, peeled prawns
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Large handful of iceberg lettuce, chopped
Handful Thai basil leaves
For the sauces
2 tbsps fish sauce
Juice of 3 limes
1 clove garlic, minced
A splash of water
1 dried chilli, crumbled
1 tsp brown sugar
4 tbsps hoisin sauce
1 tbsp finely chopped dry roasted peanuts, crushed
To make the sauces
Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar, chilli and water to make the main dipping sauce. This is traditionally served with the rolls.
For something extra, I also made a peanut/hoisin sauce by crushing the dry roasted peanuts and mixing with the hoisin sauce.
Making your rolls
Part of the fun of this process is assembling your own rolls.
Make sure you have all the ingredients prepared and laid out.
Soak the rice wrappers, one at a time for around 10-15 seconds until soft and pliable. Lay flat on a plate and place your filling in the centre, starting with the herbs on the bottom, then some vermicelli, lettuce and prawns.
Make a little envelope by folding in each side.
Dip in the sauce and eat.
I may not be able to visit Vietnam for a while but at least I’ve transported my taste buds there.