ANYWAY - on to the point of the post!
I love fresh spring rolls. There are lots of versions of these. I first had them in a Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne on the recommendation of my friend C. It was love at first bite. I then tried them again at an excellent Thai restaurant, Mekong Neua in Kingsland. I was keen to make them myself so looked up the recipe somewhere.
Making these is easy but a little fiddly and time consuming. This doesn't bother me. I find such cooking quite meditative or soothing. There is something satisfying about spending the time and effort to create it. It's the same reason I like to make gnocchi or chinese dumplings from scratch.
This is my version. It makes about 20-22 rolls depending on how much filling you have.
Fresh Spring Rolls
- 500g chicken tenderloins
- 2 star anise
- knob of ginger
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- soy sauce
- mirin/sake/chinese cooking wine
- Packet of rice "galettes" as they are called on the packet. I get them from my local chinese supermarket. I get the round ones, but they have square ones as well. They are normally near the noodles.
- 1/3 of 1/2 a cabbage head
- mung beans
- 1 large carrot
- chopped mint (use Vietnamese mint if you can find it)
- chopped fresh coriander (not everyone likes this so just have the mint if you're one of those people)
Thinly slice the chicken. Boil the kettle so you have some hot water.
Now - the librarian in me forces me to set up my work station like this.
- Put the cabbage in one pile and the carrot in another on a plate.
- Plate 1: Fill with hot water from the kettle (I use a bread & butter plate)
- Plate 2: Dampen with water but don't fill it (I use a bread & butter plate)
- On the chopping board: A pile of chopped herbs and another separate pile of sliced chicken.
- In it's bag close by: the mung beans & the rice galettes
1. Take one rice galette and place it in Plate 1. Leave to soften which will take maybe 1-2 mins. It will go clear when it's soft.
2. Slide the softened galette off Plate 1 and place it nicely on Plate 2. Put another galette on to soak in Plate 1 while you fill the first one.
3. Place 2 slices of chicken in the middle of the galette lying horizontally. Then add pinches of cabbage, herbs and mung beans. Then add 2-3 carrot sticks.
4. Fold the sides of the galette over the filling. The vertical lines in the diagram below demonstrate which bits to fold over.
5. Now fold the top edge of the galette over the filling and roll the package over the final remaining exposed rice galette so you have a kind of cigar shape cylinder.
Continue constructing others until you've got enough rolls for your needs.
- Juice of 2 small limes
- 2-3 Tablespoons of fish sauce
- 1 tsp grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- finely chopped fresh coriander & mint
- finely chopped fresh chilli (if desired)
- 1/4 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1/4 tsp finely chopped ginger
Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and see if the balance between salt/sour/sweet is to your taste; add more lime juice/fish sauce/sugar.
In case you are wondering, yes, DS loves these and eats them with gusto just like me. He doesn't like the filling by itself but when it's wrapped up and dipped in the sauce it somehow magically becomes yummy! ;-) Even though he tells me "I not like mungo beans".
P.S. The filling can be different. The Vietnamese one I had used shredded pork. I make vegetarian ones with marinaded tofu or egg omlette with black seasame seeds. You could use prawns or even thinly sliced beef. Many people use bean vermicelli noodles as a filling too.