Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vietnamese Summer Rolls

It's been ridiculously hot in Sydney the last couple of days, but there's only so many salads one can stomach in the quest for cold dinners. So here's a somewhat complicated recipe for Do-It-Yourself Vietnamese Summer rolls. The idea is to share all the ingredients and have some fun making them at the table, but make plenty of sauce and chicken as these tend to run out quickly. This is Viet cuisine by way of my brain and not entirely authentic, however the Nuoc Cham recipe is one I edited from a Vietnamese cook book and is almost identical to that served in good Viet restaurants.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce (Nuoc Mam)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
2 bird's eye chillis
1 spring onion


  • Boil the water and add the sugar

  • Stir until all the sugar is dissolved

  • Add the fish sauce, be sure to use Vietnamese Nuoc Mam and not Thai fish sauce which is much stronger and overpowering in this recipe

  • Add the lemon juice, if using fresh lemon juice strain the sauce to exclude all the pith

  • Dice the garlic and add to the sauce

  • Cut the spring onion and chilli into fine slices and add to the sauce

  • Chill and serve, this recipe is enough to make sauce for 2 servings, discard after 2 weeks if unused

  • The sauce also makes a light and refreshing salad dressing for Asian inspired salad

Coconut spice chicken

2 chicken breasts
200ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon of diced lemon grass
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons minced coriander
1 lime


  • In a bowl combine the ginger, lemon grass, garlic and chilli

  • Add the coconut cream and mix well

  • Add the juice of the lime

  • Dice the chicken into large strips and combine well with the marinade

  • Marinade the chicken for at least 2 hours

  • Grill at 180C until browned, turning occasionally and rebasting with leftover marinade

Rice Paper Wraps

1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh coriander
4 tablespoons salted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts
1 carrot finely sliced
10-15 rice paper wraps
boiling water for dipping wraps
Coconut spice chicken as prepared earlier
Nuoc cham dipping sauce


  • Dice peanuts, slice carrots and wash herbs

  • Place on a platter with chicken and sprouts

  • Put a bowl of boiling water on the table along with the rice paper

  • Dip the rice paper in the water so that the entire wrap is wet, do not hold in the water but return quickly to plate

  • Place a small amount of each ingredient into the rice paper

  • Roll the wrap by folding the "up and down" direction intowards the ingredients and then rolling the wrap in on itself from right to left

  • Dip in the Nuoc Cham and eat up quickly before every one else does!


  1. What a good idea! *steals recipe*

  2. These are perfect for the hot weather. Your chicken sounds good too. I'm always too greedy with the filling in rice paper and it's very hard to roll them up!

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