Vietnamese summer rolls
Ingredients to serve 2 as starter
For the dipping sauce
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fish sauce
For the rolls
25g fine rice vermicelli
6 rice-paper discs or wrappers (available in oriental stores)
200g cooked prawns, halved lengthways if large
Large handful of mixed herb leaves, such as mint, coriander, basil and green shiso, torn if large
6 lettuce or mustard leaves
30g bean sprouts
This is a perfect grow-your-own recipe – there's not a fixed list of ingredients, just add what's best from your plot. One essential is plenty of fresh, mixed herbs, especially mint.
First, make the dipping sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Add the lime juice, chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce, stirring and tasting as you go to balance the flavours.
Cook the rice vermicelli, as the per the packet's intructions. Refresh under cold water, drain and chop into lengths of roughly 8-10cm.
Get ready to roll. Arrange each ingredient as on an assembly line: start with a large bowl of warm water to soak the rice-paper discs or wrappers; next, you will need a plate, covered with a clean towel, on which to drape them once soaked; then the prawns, herb leaves, vermicelli and other fresh ingredients, each in a separate bowl.
Soak a rice-paper disc in the warm water for 15 seconds or until pliable. Transfer to the plate. Start to make a pile of the ingredients in the bottom third of the rice paper, arranging prawns and other ingredients to taste.
Roll up tightly from the bottom, fold in the sides, then finish rolling up the cylinder. The rice paper should be slightly sticky, which will help to seal the rolls. Repeat the process for all the other rice paper discs, topping up the warm water if necessary. Slice the rolls on the diagonal and serve with the dipping sauce.
Taken from 'The Urban Kitchen Gardener – Growing and Cooking in the City', by Tom Moggach (Kyle Books, £16.99).
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