This recipe is from Saigon but every region has its own take on fresh summer rolls. Although they are great for special occasions, they are tasty and healthy enough to take to work for lunch – you’ll be enjoying a good herb and prawn salad inside rice paper.

Makes 6
rice paper 6 sheets, about 22cm

pork belly 150g
king prawns 18, shelled and deveined
rice vermicelli 30g
lettuce leaves 6
coriander sprigs 12, stalk on, chopped
garden or hot mint leaves 18, chopped
cockscomb mint sprigs 3 (available from Asian supermarkets)
shiso/perilla leaves 18
garlic chives 6, halved and head removed

Dipping sauce
cooking oil 1 tbsp
garlic clove 1, chopped
hoisin sauce 2 tbsp
white wine vinegar or cider vinegar ½ tbsp
sugar 1 tsp
Sriracha chilli sauce ½ tbsp
roasted salted peanuts 2 tbsp, crushed

Saigon Summer Rolls

Saigon fresh summer rolls


Bring a saucepan of water and a few pinches of salt to the boil. Add the pork, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when you prick it with a knife. Allow to cool, then cut off the skin and very thinly slice the meat. Put the prawns and a pinch of salt in a saucepan of boiling water and poach for 2 minutes, or until opaque. Drain and allow to cool.

Put the rice vermicelli, a pinch of salt and a dash of vinegar in a bowl or pan of boiling water, cover and allow to cook for 5–10 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with hot water.

Once the pork, prawns and vermicelli are ready, put them and the remaining filling ingredients in their own individual bowls in front of you. Pour some warm water into a tray deep and large enough to submerge the rice paper sheets. Use a plastic board as a base on which to make the rolls.

Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water and take it out as soon as it is moist all over – do not let it sit in the water. Lay the sheet on the plastic board. Imagine the sheet is a face and now place the filling where the mouth should be: line up a couple of pork slices, 3 prawns, 1 lettuce leaf, and one-sixth of the vermicelli and herbs. Fold the 2 sides inward over the filling, as if making an envelope.

Now fold the bottom corner over the filling. Put 3–4 pieces of garlic chives along the roll with the tips sticking out of one end of the roll. Start to roll up the package tightly, pushing it forward and tucking in the filling in a neat cylinder as you roll it towards the far side of the sheet. Keep in an airtight container or wrap in clingfilm while you assemble the remaining rolls.

For the dipping sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Fry the garlic until it browns slightly. Add the hoisin sauce, vinegar, sugar, chilli sauce and 1 tbsp water and bring to a gentle boil. Pour into dipping bowls and sprinkle the peanuts on top. Serve with the rolls for dipping.


From My Vietnamese Kitchen