Vietnamese foods have increased in popularity in the UK. Most people know 'Pho' - aromatic beef noodle soup. In fact, my favourite Vietnamese dish that I make more often is Spring rolls or Rice paper wraps. This is very tasty and easy to make, can be put in a lunch box and most importantly it is a great and fun way to eat (a lot of) fresh raw vegetables and herbs. Let's start...
For the spring rolls:
2-3 sheets of Vietnamese rice paper
Mixed fresh salad leaves of your choice (Chards, spinach, lettuces, etc.)
1 carrot, cut into long, thin batons
1/4 cucumber, remove seeds and cut into long thin batons
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
A handful of fresh Thai basil (available from Asian supermarkets and Waitrose)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1-2 fresh chillies (optional but I like bird eyes chillies!)
Cooked protein of your choice (king prawns, tofu or leftover roast chicken)
Slightly warm water for soaking the rice papers
For the sauce:
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (you may use almond or cashew nut butter if allergic to peanut)
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (Itsu brand hoisin sauce does not contain wheat)
2-3 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce (optional)
1 tbsp hot water
To make the sauce, put the hot water in a small bowl, then stir in the peanut butter and hoisin sauce and mix well until combined. Add the lime juice and chilli sauce (if used) and mix again. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water (it should be about the thickness of salad cream and should not be runny). You may want to make a larger batch as it can be kept in a jar in the fridge for a week.
To make the spring rolls, put water in a large bowl and soak one rice paper sheet until soft but not too soft (it should take about 20-25 seconds depending on its thickness), then remove it onto a clean plate. Assemble the filling ingredients starting from the protein followed by the herbs, salad leaves, garlic, cucumber and carrot (don't overload it as this will be difficult to roll or will tear), then wrap/roll it up (you need to work quickly before the rice paper getting dried and too sticky). Serve fresh with the peanut sauce and extra fresh chillies if you wish. Enjoy!