Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

Chả ciò or Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Spring rolls: what a marvellous love affair is is. They're world famous and have no plans on giving up the goose, spring rolls are here, there and everywhere! That familiar saying “oh just one more” was born the very same day as the spring roll… coincidence? I think not. 

They originated in China on a fine and sunny spring afternoon and swept their way across Asia like an excited dandelion, spreading whispers of flavour and love. What a spectacle it must have been, watching the first westerner balancing pure culinary joy with imminent threat of 3rd degree burns to the top of her mouth… we have all been there! 

My favourite spring rolls chanced upon me during a very passionate three month relationship with Vietnam. Chả giò, or Vietnamese fried spring rolls, are a slightly more rugged take on the Chinese classic - traditionally consisting of ground meat or vegetables, wrapped up in rice paper and deep fried, served with a creamy peanut sauce that could send a sane women mad! In my opinion they are a slightly healthier option than ecstasy. 

With dishes such as Chả giò and Pho, Vietnam truly is a melting pot of flavour; a country who's been suffocated by recent history yet breathes new life around the world through its incredible, traditional recipes! 

So, when you’re out and about in the deep wilderness and feel like sparking some authentic Asian creativity for dinner, choose these spring rolls. This recipe is perfectly simplified just for you and not only that, they’re a joy to make and a pleasure to eat around the fire - telling stories of Asian adventures! 

Ingredients - 

Serves 2 

200g pack of rice vermicelli noodles 

1tbsp of coconut oil 

1 box of button mushrooms 

1tsp of ginger

3 tbsp of soy sauce (+ some for dipping) 

1 lime (juiced) 

1 block of tofu (halved & sliced) - smoked tofu is great with this dish!

1 courgette (coarsely grated) 

1 small pack of bánh tráng rice paper (these are widely available in most supermarkets)

Method - 

1) Firstly, bring a pan of water to boil and cook the rice vermicelli noodles for 2 - 3 minutes. Rinse throughly with cold water and put aside. 

2) Now, chuck the pan on a medium - high heat and melt the coconut oil. 

3) Fry the mushrooms for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. 

4) Add in the lime juice, ginger and soy sauce and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

5) Push the mushrooms to one side of the pan and add your tofu - frying for 2-3 minutes either side to achieve that lovely brown and crispy look!

6) Put the pan aside to cool and begin to coarsely grate the courgette. 

Now, It’s time to get set up and begin rolling - place the fillings within hands reach and prepare a little rolling station, this could be a chopping board or your camping table! Also prepare a bowl of warm water and a damp kitchen cloth to lay on the chopping board. 

 7) Place a rice paper roll in the warm water for 45 seconds. 

 8) Remove from the water and place it on the damp kitchen cloth. 

 9) Begin by laying a very small handful of noodles in the top half of the rice paper, followed by the courgette, mushrooms and the tofu on top. Note - don’t go to hard on the filling as you won’t be able to wrap them!

10) Roll the rice paper wrap towards you once, closing in the filling, fold in both sides and then roll up tightly to make a nice neat wrap.

 11) Set aside and repeat the process until all the fillings are gone! 12) Put a pan on the stove and add a good dash of olive oil. When it's hot, place the rolls in the oil taking care not to burn yourself and not to let the rolls touch each other or they will stick. Cook them for 5 minutes, turning with a wooden spoon or tongs. 13) When all the spring rolls are cooked, fill a little pot with soy sauce for dipping and enjoy your Asian treat, wherever you are!

Thank you for reading!

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