Vietnamese nem rolls

13Feb08

Flickr is such an amazing site. You can find pictures of almost everything. Have you ever traveled to somewhere special? Type in the place name and you’ll probably find thousands of photos which look like the ones you made yourself! Then click some more. If you find pictures you like, click on the favorites of the person who made them. I always search for things people cook and eat. There are so many foodies there, it is amazing, and they have such excellent photography skills. How do they do it? Sushi chefs, pasta lovers, Dubai sweets clubs … anything, anything anything.
People who make a snapshot of their food, every day. Or photograph things they have in restaurants. All of it is there, you just have to go there and look!

Not too long ago I found an amazing collection of Vietnamese food through a friend of mine who works for the Medisch Comité Nederland-Vietnam. He himself made Vietnamese ‘spring’ or ‘summer’ rolls with a couple of Vietnamese friends (here), and it looked so tasty I had to try myself!

Basically, you make a filling for these Vietnamese nem and wrap it in a soft rice sheet. Then you dip it in a sauce for eating. You can have them fried or unfried, I did the fried version, but they did become a bit greasy (I am no expert) so next time I will have them plain I think. You can also use spring roll wrappers for frying.

For these rolls, you will need: 1 package of rice sheets from the oriental supermarket; glass noodles; a selection of vegetables like bean sprouts, carrot (in shreds), cabbage (in shreds); cooked shrimp, a tin of crab meat (if you like) and pork mince (if you like) and dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked). Start to soak the glass noodles : pour boiling water over them and let soak until soft (about 10 minutes). Soak your shiitake mushrooms in a separate bowl – you can use the same boiling water. Cut glass noodles into 4 cm sections, cut mushrooms into small dice. Shred your carrots and cabbage (if using), and mix all in a large bowl. Add 100 grams shrimp, 100 grams pork mince (I didn’t have it this time) and crab meat (if using). Add shredded spring onions and 1 or 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Add one or 2 eggs to combine, and a splash of preferably Vietnamese fish sauce.

Soak the rice sheets in cold water and dry carefully on a towel. Add filling and roll up. Then fry in a pool of hot oil until crispy on all sides. Turn carefully as they might break – I guess the ready-made spring roll sheets might be a bit more robust.

Eat with gem lettuce leaves and a chili and lime dip, made with the juice of one lime, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon of fresh chili in small rings. Stir 3 tablespoons of water and a splash of fish sauce into the dipping sauce. Delicious and addictive, you can have at least 4!



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