One of my workmates brought a plate of delicious vegetarian Vietnamese spring rolls (gỏi cuốn) into the office last week and they were a hit. “They’re simple” she said, “Grab some Vietnamese rice paper wrappers and throw in whatever you want!” I’ve been inspired to try these healthy snacks in my own kitchen ever since.
I took a trip to Hoo Hing in Enfield this morning to pick up the ingredients for my own version of gỏi cuốn. Hoo Hing is a huge importer of all kinds of weird and wonderful Asian ingredients and I spent about an hour browsing the aisles, coming away with Vietnamese rice paper wrappers, a huge bag of bean sprouts, a fresh bunch of coriander, a kilo of frozen raw shelled prawns and a small bottle of fish sauce. The only thing I couldn’t find at Hoo Hing was fresh mint, so I popped by the mother-in-law’s to raid her herb garden.
My workmate was right, you can basically use any ingredients you fancy, there’s heaps of options.
Here’s how I did mine:
Vietnamese spring rolls (gỏi cuốn)
A pack of Vietnamese rice paper wrappers
400g cooked prawns
Two handfuls of coriander, chopped
One handful of mint, finely chopped
Three handfuls of bean sprouts
Spring onion, sliced
Combine the herbs, spring onion and bean sprouts in a bowl.
Rehydrate a rice paper wrapper in a shallow dish of tepid water.
Add three prawns and some of the herby sprouts, roll the rice paper tightly, folding the ends in.
Combine soy sauce, a tablespoon of fish sauce and some chilli oil to taste.
Serve at room temperature.
We also enjoyed some fresh pork buns (cha siu bao) that I found at Hoo Hing.
Much better than the frozen variety you often come across in Asian supermarket freezers, these were oozing with salty barbecued pork filling and the dough was light and fluffy. Just steam for 15 minutes and serve with soy sauce and hot chilli sriracha sauce.
At just £2.99 for a pack of six fresh cha siu bao, this is a cheap little snack that is really simple to prepare.
Do you have an Asian supermarket in your area? What ingredients do you stock up on?