Vietnamese spring rolls with plum sauce

Lettuce, mint and coriander make a fresh wrapping for Neven Maguire's hot, crisp dim sum rolls served with home-made dipping sauce
By Neven Maguire
Vietnamese spring rolls with plum sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the plum sauce

  • 225 ml water
  • 200 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ΒΌ tsp salt
  • 6 dried preserved chinese plum

For the spring rolls

  • 25 g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 7 g bunch coriander, with roots
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 450 g uncooked shelled de-veined prawns, such as tiger prawns or langoustines, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce, or light soy sauce
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1.2 litres approx groundnut oil, for deep-frying

To serve

  • iceberg or webb lettuce, leaves separated and trimmed
  • mint leaves
  • coriander leaves

Method

1. For the plum sauce: combine the water, sugar, rice wine vinegar, salt and plums in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced to about 175ml. Remove the plums and discard, then transfer the sauce to a bowl and allow to cool completely.

2. For the spring rolls: soak the vermicelli in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and drop into a pan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain again and rinse in cold water. Using kitchen scissors, cut the noodles into small lengths. Set aside.

3. Place the coriander, garlic and pepper in a small blender or pestle and mortar. Blend or pound to a paste, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the prawns and the fish sauce or soy sauce. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.

4. Remove the spring roll wrappers from the packaging and cut into quarters so that you end up with 6cm squares. Place a tablespoon of the prawn mixture near the corner of each spring roll, fold in each side and roll up tightly. Seal the open ends by brushing a small amount of beaten egg on each edge, then press the edge on to the roll. Place the rolls on a rack until ready to fry.

5. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-sided pan until it is very hot and slightly smoking. Gently drop in as many rolls as will fit easily in one layer. Carefully fry them for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

6. To serve, place a spring roll in the centre of a lettuce leaf, adding some mint and coriander. Roll up and dip into the plum sauce while still hot.

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