Vietnamese summer rolls

I first came across these light, fresh rolls at a tiny, cheap Vietnamese place around the corner from Leicester Square. I fell in love with them - they're like the healthier, herbier, lighter cousin of the Chinese spring roll. Luckily, they're also pretty easy to recreate at home, as long as you can get hold of the rice paper rolls. Supermarkets sometimes stock them, but local oriental stores are your best bet.

Ingredients (serves four, with four rolls each)

16 rice paper rounds
25g rice vermicelli noodles
Choose your meat/filling: two large chicken breasts, shredded, or the same quantity shredded duck, or 300g cooked peeled prawns, or 300g chopped tofu.
Handful fresh mint leaves
Handful fresh coriander leaves
Handful fresh basil leaves
60g chopped roasted peanuts
1 grated carrot
Half a cucumber, chopped into very thin sticks
Handful beansprouts
Two tablespoons Teriyaki sauce

For the dipping sauce

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice 
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50ml water
2 garlic cloves, chopped v small
1 red chilli, deseeded, sliced v fine


Prepare the individual ingredients: place the noodles in a bowl, covered with boiling water to soften for 3 minutes. Drain.
Prepare the remaining vegetables and herbs.
Prepare a dinner plate with a layer of water and submerge one rice paper in it to soften for about 30 seconds. 
Then lay it out on a plate.
Arrange the meat or prawn or tofu in a line down the centre of the rice paper. Don't go too near the edges. Then add herbs, noodles, peanut, veg, and a drizzle of teriyaki. Don't overstuff.
Fold the bottom and top of the rolls into the filling, then fold the side into the middle, and the other side to meet it, to make a tight roll.

Repeat with the remaining papers and ingredients.
To make the dipping sauce, just mix its ingredients together well until a paste.


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