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Yaw Kao – Fresh spring rolls

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Fresh Spring rolls are another family favourite of ours because it’s packed with yummy (and healthy) fillings and it’s simply delicious. Lets be honest though, it does take a bit of time to make but again, like most things all you need is to be organised and have all your fillings prepped and ready before you start on the spring rolls. And you can’t eat fresh spring rolls without a dipping sauce, it completes the dish. Lucky for you, we have a very easy and yummy dipping sauce recipe that you can make in less than 2 minutes!

The great thing with fresh spring rolls is that you can use whatever fillings you like. For this particular recipe we’ve used minced pork, but you can substitute the pork with chicken, beef, prawns or even go vegetarian.

This is a very basic recipe using ingredients that you can get from your local super market but if you want to add more vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts (skies the limit) then by all means go for gold. But we like to keep it simple and the less chopping up and prepping to do, the better! We also used mixed salad leaves instead of iceberg lettuce – again this to help save time, no washing and chopping required. Well, maybe just a quick rinse in water.

This recipe will make about 20-30 spring rolls depending on how much fillings you put into your spring rolls.

Ingredients

500g minced meat (we used pork in this instance)

2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

2 Gloves garlic finely diced

pinch of salt and white pepper

1 Teaspoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce

Half a packet of vermicelli noodles (approx 200g)

1 Packet of Rice paper rolls (approx 400g)

400g mixed salad leaves

Bunch of mint

Bunch of coriander

Big bowl of cold water (to soak the rice paper roll in)

For the omelette

4 eggs

2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Pinch of salt and white pepper

1 Teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the dipping sauce

1/2 Cup boiling water

1/2 Cup castor sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon msg (optional)

3 Tablespoon fish sauce

Juice of one lemon

2 gloves garlic minced

1-2 red chillies sliced

Crushed peanuts

To make the dipping sauce, boil some water in a kettle. Once boiled, combine the water, sugar, salt and msg to a bowl. Stir to combine until everything has dissolved. Add fish sauce, lemon, minced garlic and chillies and top with crushed peanuts.

Method

As we mentioned above it pays to be organised and this is the general order in how we prep the fillings: We always start with washing the veges first, then we boil a pot of water to start cooking the noodles in, and at the same time we start to cook the meat (multi-tasking comes in handy here) And lastly, we cook the eggs.

Let the cooking begin…

Step 1. Thoroughly wash the mint, coriander and mixed salad leaves and set aside.

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Step 2. Next thing is to start cooking the noodles. For every 500g of meat you only need half a packet of the vermicelli noodles. Follow the instructions on the noodle packet and once cooked, set aside.

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Step 3. Now it’s time to cook the meat. Heat oil in a pan on medium/high heat. Add your garlic and cook for about a minute until it becomes fragrant. Add the meat to the pan, then add the sugar, pinch of salt and pepper, fish sauce and soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Set aside.

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Step 4. Now it’s time to cook the omelette.

Step 4.1. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar, pinch of salt and pepper, fish sauce and soy sauce and mix well with a fork to combine. You will have enough egg mixture to cook approx 3 or 4 batches of omelette

Step 4.2. Pour a bit of the egg mixture into a frying pan and cook for 1 minute on a medium to high heat. Turn over and cook for another minute on the other side. Once cooked, place onto a chopping board. Repeat this process until you have used up all the egg mixture. Then slice thinly and set aside.

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Step 5. So now you should have done the following; washed the herbs and mixed salad leaves, cooked the vermicelli noodles, cooked the meat and cooked and sliced the omelette. Arrange everything so it’s like a production line and it’s all within reaching distance for rolling. See picture below.

Also, make sure you use a bowl that is big enough to fit the rice paper. That way when you dip the rice paper into the bowl of water it won’t break.

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There are many different brands of rice paper rolls out there, it doesn’t matter which one you use so long as it is “rice paper”. Here is an example of some rice paper packets that I purchased from the local Asian stores. We always end up using the brand “Banh Trang Deo” the one with the squid on the front of the packet. The rice paper stays soft even after a few hours and in our humble opinion it tastes better.

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Step 6. Now it’s time to start rolling!

Step 6.1 First dip the rice paper into a bowl of water. Depending on the brand of rice paper, you may only need to soak it in the water for a few seconds. Rinse off any excess water by running the rice paper along the top of the bowl or have a tea towel near by. Place the rice paper onto a flat surface such as clean chopping board, dinner plate or onto a clean bench top.

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Step 6.2 Now to start placing the fillings onto the rice paper. First put about a tablespoon of the meat about halfway onto the rice paper. Then place the sliced omelette on top of the meat, followed by the noodles, followed by a few pieces of the salad leaves and lastly the herbs.

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6.3 Now to wrap it all up.

Fold the bottom part of the rice paper up towards the fillings – away from you, then bring both sides together towards the middle and start rolling it away from you. The trick is to keep it firm and use all your fingers to hold onto the spring roll while rolling.

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And there you have it. Serve with the dipping sauce and enjoy!

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Spring rolls are also great to take on picnics and bbq’s. If you plan on doing this place some baking paper in between the layers of your spring rolls in the container so they don’t stick together.

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Happy cooking, happy eating!

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