When we served these to Gemma’s boyfriend, he said they were better than those served at a certain Vietnamese restaurant chain (rhymes with roe). As a man known to speak his mind, we knew we were on to a winner. These lunch box friendly rolls are great served as a starter, or as a light and flavour packed lunch. Of course we love prawns on there own and you can omit the pork when you make these rolls, however, it really does add another great layer of texture and depth of flavour to these tasty finger foods.
More or a distant cousin to the spring rolls you might be familiar with, summer rolls originate from Vietnam. Gỏi cuốn traditionally consists of pork, prawn, vegetables, bún (rice vermicelli), and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper. Summer rolls are best served at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. Make sure if you are cooking the ingredients before hand that they’ve had time to cool before you put them in the sticky rice paper.
The folding of the rolls can be a little tricky at first so we’d advise taking a look at a video like this one to get the gist. Take your time and be patient. They are definitely worth the wait.
Timings: 30 minutes
Ingredients (makes 8):
- 3 slices of pork belly
- 10 large raw prawns
- 1 stalk of lemongrass, crushed
- 1 block of rice vermicelli
- 2 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
- 2 sprigs of coriander
- 1/2 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
- ¼ cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
- ½ shredded lettuce
- 8 rice paper wrappers
- Splash of soy sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- Heat a small lug of oil in a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, pork belly and a generous splash of soy sauce. Cook until it starts to crisp slightly. Remove from the pan and leave to cool before cutting into thin slices.
- Bring a small pan of water, with the lemongrass to the boil. Add the prawns, turn down the heat and poach for two minutes until pink. Drain and peel the prawns and cut in half
- Put the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave for about five minutes, checking occasionally until softened, then rinse well in cold water and drain thoroughly.
- Get all the ingredients ready to start assembling
- Get a dish big enough to accommodate a rice paper (we used a dipped plate) and fill with boiling water. One rice paper at time, submerge the wrap until it goes translucent. Try to keep the paper spread out so it doesn’t stick together. If at any point it does get stuck, use slightly damp fingertips to roll it out.
- You are going to need to fold in the sides, so make sure there is around an inch space on either side of the filling. Arrange two prawns halves in the middle of the roll, top with a couple of the thinly sliced pork pieces. Below this line up a few shreds of the carrots, lettuce and cucumber. Add a clump of the noodles and top with the herbs.
- Now for the fiddly bit. Fold in the sides of the rice paper, then fold up the bottom edge over the filling and roll tightly away from you. Place fold down on the plate.
Quick dipping sauce
- Finely chop half a chilli and a handful of coriander
- In a ramekin add a good glug of soy sauce, a dash of toasted sesame oil and then throw in the coriander and chilli. Mix with a fork and test, adjusting with extra chilli or coriander to individual tastes