Pork Spring Rolls with Vietnamese dipping sauce

Photo: Wicked Food
Photo: Wicked Food

My sister, Claire and I have started attending cooking classes at Wicked Food in Sunninghill. The first lesson was about Vietnamese cooking class. 

 

We each got our own chopping boards, knives, aprons and box wine on tap (I'm not fussy when cooking). I had to prepare the Pork Spring Rolls with a Vietnamese 

dipping sauce (Nuoc cham).

 

Here are both recipes that we were given by Wicked Food.

 

FRIED PORK SPRING ROLLS

 

A classic Vietnamese starter – small deep-fried springrolls, served wrapped in lettuce leaves, with a variety of herbs. The springrolls can be made ahead and stored for a few hours in the fridge before frying. Be very careful when frying, if the springrolls touch each other, they tend to stick together and are very difficult to separate again.

 

±15-20 round rice papers (±22cm across)

Oil for deep-frying

 

Filling

±25g cellophane noodles (from the 100g in accompaniments below)

±250g minced pork neck (or beef or chicken)

±30g small shrimp, peeled and de-veined, and finely chopped (±1/2 cup)

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 to 3 spring onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrot, finely grated (optional)

1/4t freshly ground black pepper

2T fish sauce

 

Accompaniments

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 cup mixed herbs (rocket, basil, mint, coriander)

±100g cellophane noodles

11/2 cups Vietnamese table sauce (see below)

 

Instructions:

 

Soak all the cellophane noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes (filling and accompaniments), then drain and cut into ±2,5cm lengths with scissors (you need just over 1/2 cup for the filling).

 

Chop all the filling ingredients, as indicated above, and then combine in a single bowl, set aside. (This can be done up to 12 hours ahead and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.)

 

Making the springrolls

 

Fill a bowl with water. Working with one sheet at a time, dip the rice paper into the water until it becomes slightly pliable and then transfer to a damp tea towel.

Working on a damp tea towel, place 1T of the filling onto the lower half of a rice paper wrapper. To roll the wrapper, first fold the bottom section over the filling and then the left and right sides, and then roll tightly. Place seam side down, on a plate and cover with a damp tea towel until all the rolls are ready for frying.

 

Heat 3cm of oil in a frying pan, and when hot, fry the springrolls in a single layer, turning to brown all sides. Drain on paper towels. Once ready to serve, cut in half diagonally.

 

Arrange the springrolls, noodles and salad on a large platter. Serve the sauce in a bowl.

 

To eat, wrap a springroll, in a lettuce leaf, with a choice of herbs, and dip in the sauce.

 

Vietnamese dipping sauce (Nuoc cham)

 

A basic dipping sauce found on the table at almost every Vietnamese meal. The sauce brings out flavours and sparks the appetite. The sauce will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

 

1/4 cup lemon or fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup water

2t rice or cider vinegar

1T sugar

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 small bird’s eye chilli, minced

1 small carrot, finely grated

 

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.