Vietnamese Prawn (or Shrimp) Summer Rolls are incredibly easy to make, naturally gluten free and everything you need is available right in the supermarket. Best of all, there is barely any cooking with heat involved – they’re perfect for a warm summers day!
There is something magical about dipping a brittle round of rice paper wrapper into water to see it dramatically change in mere moments before your eyes. There is also something magical about how fresh and different tasting these rolls are – they are nothing at all like spring or pancake rolls that you would get from a takeaway – they are pretty healthy too – no deep frying involved. In fact, there is very little fat involved at all. And best of all for your intolerant brethren, they’re gluten free too!
You can go crazy experimenting with fillings. As always, if you don’t like something, leave it out. If you prefer chicken or tofu, use that. If you have beansprouts but not peppers – who cares. I’ve even seen vietnamese summer rolls made with non traditional fillings like pulled pork and I’m sure someone american has made a ‘cheeseburger’ version and suggested eating it whilst watching the superbowl. You know its true people!
The fish sauce used in the Dipping Sauce is an interesting ingredient if you are not familiar with it. You can buy big bottles of it in all the major supermarkets – just look in the ‘world food aisle’. I find it rather addictive. How something can stink so badly but taste so delicious is baffling! Do not be put off though
Makes 4 Rolls
4 Large King Prawns
1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
1/2 tsp Chilli Oil (optional)
8 Little Gem Leaves
1/2 Bell Pepper
20g White Cabbage
4 Spring Onions
8-12 Mint Leaves
Large Handful Coriander Leaves
150g Ready Cooked Rice Noodles
4 Rice Paper Wrappers
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 Tsp Garlic Paste
1/2 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
- I buy uncooked but peeled king prawns from my local Chinese supermarket or the goliath Wing-Yip. Of course you can buy them fresh but I love having some always ready to go – they take moment to defrost from the freezer.
- Prawns are sold by reference to how many you can buy in a Kilo – so my pretty massive ones are “Colossal” at 26 to 30 per Kg. Fishvish explain it much better than I can here. Basically the less you get to the kilo, the bigger they are. If you have smaller ones than me, then just use more of them per roll.
- If the noodles are a bit dry when you take them out of the packet, just give them a quick rinse under the tap then leave to sit in a colander. Or follow the packet instructions on dried rice noodles if you prefer.
- The dipping sauce is….pungent. Do not be put off – it is delicious!
Put the kettle on to boil.
Heat a small saucepan on a high heat and add 4 Large King Prawns. Leave to cook for 30 second or so on each side then add 1/2 tsp Ginger Paste and 1/2 tsp Chilli Oil (optional) to the pan.
Continue to move the prawns around the pan for another minute or so until they are a little coloured and are firm to the touch.
Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
Prepare all of the fillings. Start by separating, washing and drying about 8 Little Gem Leaves. You could use larger leaves which are then halved or more smaller leaves. Set aside.
Finely slice a 1/2 Bell Pepper – any colour except for green. Set aside.
Finely slice about 20g White Cabbage. It is best to aim for slices similar in size to the peppers.
Peel the outer layers and top/tail 4 Spring Onions. Finely slice on the diagonal.
Wash and dry 8-12 Mint Leaves and a Large Handful of Coriander Leaves. Set aside.
Open the packet of 150g Ready Cooked Rice Noodles and rince is needed. Set aside.
Now that the cooked prawns will be cool to the touch, slice them in half length-ways. Carefully.
Add the boiled water from the kettle to a shallow dish – a pie dish would be ideal – something that one of 4 Rice Paper Wrappers is easy to be dunked into.
Take one of the wrappers and carefully dip it into the hot water. It does not need to be submerged for more than 10-15 seconds. Take it out while it is still holding its shape – don’t panic and over-soak it – the wrapper will continue to soften as you add the fillings.
Lay the soaked wrapper on a board and use a clean tea towel or kitchen roll to gently dab off any excess water.
Start to add the fillings one at a time. Always start with the prawns. Place the cooked outer of the prawn downwards in around the centre of the wrapper – this is the presentation side.
Continue to layer a quarter each of the fillings – the mint, the cabbage, the bell peppers…
…the coriander, the lettuce and the rice noodles. You may not wish to use of the rice noodles – it they feel overstuffed already, just use a bit less.
Now to fold! (This is easier to do when you are not taking photos!).
Take the wrapper nearest to you and fold that away from you and right over the fillings. Squeeze the filling as tight as possible. Fold in each side, again making the parcel as tight as possible. Then roll the whole thing away from you to complete the parcel.
Make the dipping sauce by combining 1 Tbsp Lime Juice, 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Nam Pla), 1 Tbsp Caster Sugar, 1 Tsp Garlic Paste and 1/2 Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes in a small bowl. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Serve the rolls with the dipping sauce.
The rolls will keep in the fridge so you can prep ahead but I would recommend eating them the same day that they are made.
Let me know in the comments what you think or what different fillings you tried.
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For more Asian inspired recipes, why not check out some of my other popular posts:
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