Vietnamese summer rolls
Vietnamese summer rolls are packed full of fresh vegetables giving a crunchy texture with a punchy dipping sauce that brings flavour.
These are made using ama-ebi, Greenland shrimp, or deep/cold water shrimp. The name varies, but these shrimp come from around Hokkaido (northern Japan) in the winter, or from the cold Atlantic waters around Greenland and are pink when they are raw.
After a couple of days in the fridge these prawns become delicious and sweet (ama-ebi means sweet prawn) and are the only species that are best eaten raw. The overall effect of the filling is quite sweet with the prawn, carrot and the herbs to balance the sour and salty dressing.
We’ve used a spiralizer to make the carrot into noodles here, but you can use a mandoline or a grater to create the same effect. If you can’t find perilla or shiso leaves a strong, mustard-flavoured leaf would be fine.
24 raw ama-ebi prawns, shells and black intestine removed
2 lemongrass stalks, finely minced
1 butterhead lettuce (you may not want all of it, depending on size)
12 rice paper wrappers
1/2 packet of kelp noodles, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes then drained well and patted dry
2 carrots, spiralized into noodles
4 spring onions, cut into quarters lengthways
1/2 cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
12 coriander stems
12 perilla or shiso leaves
12 thai basil leaves
For the Dressing
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 thumb-sized piece of peeled ginger, grated
1 small, mild red chilli, minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 star anise
1 tablespoon nama shoyu or soy sauce
3 tablespoons lime
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
1. Toss the prawns in the minced lemongrass. Separate out the butter lettuce leaves and rip the large ones in half. Cut the kelp noodles into manageable lengths. Soak the rice paper sheets for about 30 seconds in warmish water so they become supple enough to roll (do this in batches so that you add more to soak while you roll, rather than soaking them all from the beginning and by the time you roll the last one the wrap has been sitting in the water for 25 minutes getting very soggy).
2. Place the first sheet onto a clean dry board, add a tiny amount of noodle, carrot, spring onion, cucumber, 1 coriander sprig and a prawn about an eight of the way across the disc of rice paper. Fold the edge over this once. Add the rest of the filling: a perilla leaf, butter lettuce, another prawn, a basil leaf, more noodle and carrot – less is more, the roll shouldn’t have too much filling or it will never roll. Then go full burrito, fold the sides into the wrap, and roll up very tightly but without breaking.
3. Repeat for the other rolls, expect that the final rolls will turn out better than the first one – inevitable really. Then make the dressing by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl and serving alongside the rolls.