Friday, December 9, 2011

From The Kitchen: Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll

Besides the beef soup and the drip coffee, this spring roll is my favorite Vietnamese dish. It is so refreshing, light and healthy. But with the lack of Vietnamese restaurant around town and since the only place I could find them is at KLCC (read: it is just so expensive to eat frequently), I decided to make them. Oh goodness. Awesomely delightful. 3-4 rolls are enough for a light dinner, and it is really delicious that you don't feel deprived of good-tasting food if you are in the midst of a diet. You can of course substitute whatever ingredients you want, and make you own unique rolls.

Ingredients for the roll:

Rice paper - Cold Storage @ KLCC sell this. Look at the shelf where they keep the sugar and instant ketupat etc.
Prawn - Shell off and deveined. Then poached, or lightly boiled. I put two pieces of prawns in each roll.
Salad leaves - just because. I have some in the fridge. Tear them into smaller piece.
Mango - thinly sliced
Fresh basil and mint leaves - these are the secret ingredients. The 'freshness' taste of the roll comes from these two fellas.
Bihun - depends on how much you want to put in the roll. I usually overestimated and had plenty of leftover. Isk. Soak in hot water and toss. Drain the water off as much as possible, because if it is too soggy, then your rolls will be too soggy too. I find that if I prepare and toss the bihun the earliest before I start preparing the other ingredients, it will be just ready when it is time to assemble the roll.

1. Prep all the ingredients so they are nicely ready for the assembly: sliced mango, poached prawns, salad leaves and fresh herbs, and bihun.
2. Soak the rice paper in warm water, one at a time (don't soak in multiples, or they might get stuck). It is quickly soften too, so don't just leave the rice paper in the water to soak and go to do something else. Gently hold it with your fingers in the water until it is soft.
3. Spread it on a clean tea towel to get rid of the excess water. I usually skip this, because I don't have clean tea towel. So I just try to give the rice paper a little shake here, a little shake there, hoping that enough water will fall off.
4. Assembly time! The first time will always be messy. You might put too much or too little. Don't worry, have fun! It will still taste as good. The rice paper is also transparent, so you can experiment with how you lay down the ingredient. I love putting the basil and mint leaves first, so that they will be 'displayed' nicely once rolled.

Ingredients for the dip:

Fish sauce
Warm wate
r - 1/4 cup
Peanuts - crushed them into little, little pieces. I just put them inside a zip-lock bag and smacked them with a wooden ladle
Chopped garlic
Bird eye chilli - optional. I just like the dip slightly hot. 2-3 pieces of this, chopped, should be fine.
Lime juice - a quarter of a lime is suffice

Okay, the dip is definitely a try-and-taste thing. The first time I did it, I put in too much fish sauce and vinegar. Uggh, nasty, even though I'd followed the recipe to the T. So the second time around I tried to adjust it bit by bit until it taste almost like how the restaurant usually prepare it. Start by mixing in 2-3 tablespoon of sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water. Then mix in one teaspoon of vinegar and a few dash of fish sauce. Taste and adjust. You might want to add some more water, sugar, or vinegar, or fish sauce - up to you. Once you get this part to your liking, add in the rest of the ingredients - lime juice, chilli, peanuts and garlic.

Dip in and enjoy!


  1. Ok next week jom aku bawak ko lunch at this vietnamese place kat belakang etiqa...murah dan sedap

  2. waaaa, ada another vietnamese place dekat2 sini? awesome! it's a date then!