Monday, April 18, 2011

Vietnamese spring rolls

When I was a child most of the ethnic options available in Milano were greasy, depressing looking Chinese restaurants where the food was cheap and the smell of fried food lingered on your clothes long after you had left them. Nevertheless my parents loved Chinese food, so we went every weekend, even though the only thing I liked in the menu was steamed white rice. My sister, on the other hand, loved spring rolls. Even though I was only about three at the time I have this very clear memory of her devouring one fried little roll after the other, usually eating so many that they ended up being her main course instead of her appetizer.

As I grew older I started liking Chinese food just fine, and became a fan of many dishes, especially the spicy Szechuan ones, but I have say... spring rolls never really won me over. Don't get me wrong. I like them alright and I do enjoy the occasional Chinese spring roll, but ever since I've discovered the non-fried kind I have become addicted. They are so fresh and packed with crunchy vegetables you can actually feel that they are good for you while you are eating them. I'm not kidding. I was munching on one last night and felt the vitamins just flowing through me. I made them for a little Asian dinner I put together yesterday and decided to make them 100% vegetarian, but they are also very good with the addition of chopped shrimp. You decide.

For 6 rolls

6 round rice paper rolls
6 leaves of lettuce or spinach
1 zucchini, matchstick cut
1 carrot, matchstick cut
A bunch of bean sprouts
1 spring onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (or less if you don't like the heat)

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon water

Submerge rice paper in warm water until soft, doing one sheet at the time.

Mix all vegetables except for lettuce and season with chili paste thinned down with a little water. Toss well. When rice paper is soft place it on a plate, add lettuce leaf, then spoon three tablespoons of vegetables over it. Roll up. Repeat with remaning ingredients.

To make sauce whisk soy, fish sauce, sugar and water in a bowl.


  1. I find it so endearing to read that your parents actually love chinese food. Hell will have to freeze over before my inlaws touch the stuff (I do understand that old folks maintain their own ideas about food).

    You should know (or be forewarned) that when I finally do make that big food shopping spree in Milano, I have it on my list to eat at Jubin on Paolo Sarpi. They have way too many weird stuff on the menu that I just have to try at least once.

  2. Yes! Their menu sounds awesome. I love how they have translated it into English... hahaha. Looking forward to it!

  3. Healthy awesome your presentation!!

  4. These are fresh and delicious, perfect for the Spring weather we are having lately!!



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