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Vietnamese summer rolls

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Serves 4

Summer rolls are a quick way to make a nice but easy starter

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  • For the summer rolls (goi cuon)
  • 12 rice paper wrappers (large 22cm circles)
  • 200g rice vermicelli noodles
  • One round lettuce (Bibb, Boston or Butterhead)
  • 250g cooked king prawns
  • 250g roast pork or roast duck, diced
  • Fresh mint, coriander (and if you can get them) Vietnamese basil, cockscomb mint, perilla aka shiso, roughly chopped
  • Bunch of chives
  • For the dipping sauce (nuoc cham)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Juice of a lime
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 bird's eye chilli, thinly sliced


    1. Soak the noodles in just-boiled water for 10 minutes, drain, and snip into chipolata-sized clumps.
    2. Mix the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl and taste. Adjust according to your own palate – if it's not salty enough for you, add a little fish sauce and so on. Set to one side.
    3. Wash and separate the lettuce leaves. Fill the large dish with warm water.
    4. Time to assemble your summer rolls. Lightly dip a rice paper wrapper in the warm water, keeping it flat, but so every part of the wrapper is moist. Immediately place the wrapper flat on your board or work surface.
    5. The aim is to make a sausage-sized filling for the roll. Layer the ingredients as follows: place three prawns in a row across the middle of the wrapper. Fold a lettuce leaf and lay it horizontally on top of the row of prawns. Then add a clump of noodles on top of this, and then a few chunks of roast pork or duck. Finish with a generous scattering of herbs.
    6. Place a chive horizontally along the top of the filling, so that one end sticks out over the edge of the wrapper. Now fold the bottom edge of the wrapper cleanly over the top of the filling and press down the edges, to make a rough semi-circle. Now fold over the end of the wrapper which doesn’t have the chive sticking out of it and press down. Finally, tightly roll up the whole summer roll like a fat cigar.
    7. Repeat for the other rolls. When you've made all of them, serve immediately with the dipping sauce. If you're saving for later, store in an airtight Tupperware in the fridge so they don't dry out and eat them within a day.

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