I've always like Vietnamese Spring Rolls, mostly because I love the rice paper wrapper used to roll the filling with. I love how it's bubbly and kinda melts in your mouth and sticks to your tongue when you eat it, and I also love love love nuoc mam, or fish sauce based dipping sauce, made with warm water, patis, lime, sugar, garlic and chili. Some people add vinegar, but I'm not a big fan of suka so I stick to lime.
This was my first attempt to make this kind of spring roll,or nem as they call it. They usually use pork and shrimp, but I guess any meat is fine, depending on your preference. Here's how I did my version:
250 grams ground beef
1 carrot, chopped
1 red onion, choped
2 tablespoons sugar (better if you can find palm sugar!)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup ubod, chopped
1 cup small shrimp
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz vermicelli noodles, softened in hot water then cut into smaller pieces
Rice paper wrappers
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup warm water
1/8 cup fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1-2 red chilis, chopped (de-seeded if you don't want it too spicy
juice of 1 lime
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
(these are all estimates so just adjust to your taste!)
- Mix together all ingredients for the filling and set aside in the refrigerator while preparing the sauce.
- Mix together all ingredients for dipping sauce, and adjust to your taste.
- When ready to cook, remove filling mixture from fridge. Get a tablespoon ready.
- Soften rice paper by dipping in warm water until soft and transparent. Lay on a board, being careful not to poke holes in to the rice paper. Be careful, it's quite delicate.
- Add 1 tablespoon of filling about 1/2 inch to the end closest to you and flatten slightly.
- Fold over end closest to you, then fold the left and right side in. Lastly, roll the rest of the wrapper until you have a cute little spring roll.
- Finish all your filling- you can keep these spring rolls in the freezer until ready to cook if you made too many.
- Fry until wrapper is crispy and meat is cooked. I totally cooked one and cut it in half to check, then fried the rest of them for about that amount of time.
- Serve with lettuce, mint, cilantro and dipping sauce.
- To eat, wrap a nem in lettuce and add mint and cilantro and roll. Dip into the nuoc mam and enjoy!
Love this! And my BFF and roomie Margaux said they were really good, so pat on the back for my first try :)