Rockling and pineapple spring rolls

Rockling and pineapple spring rolls

Michael Fountoulakis

Small open air restaurants along the Mekong offer a DIY version of this dish where the ingredients are presented at the table and guest are invited to roll their own nem. Many of the more up-market restaurants have adapted this dish and serve the nem pre-rolled. The Highway 4 restaurant in Hanoi, for example, is well-known for its stylish interpretation of this dish.

I hope you enjoy this version. It is a delicate fresh starter to serve in summer, when pineapples are at their best. The combination of the crisp cucumber, tender fish and chewy vermicelli and rice paper is a treat.


Quantity Ingredient
400g rockling fillet, or other firm white fish fillet
100g cornflour
vegetable oil, for frying
12 rice-paper wrappers
1/3 pineapple, cut into 5 cm batons
1 long cucumber, cut into 5 cm batons
200g Rice vermicelli
1 large handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 large handful dill, roughly chopped
Tamarind sauce, to serve


  1. Remove any skin and bones from the fish and discard. Cut the fish into 5 cm batons and lightly dust with cornflour. Take care to separate the fish batons to ensure they do not stick together and are evenly coated. Put the fish in a sieve and shake off any excess cornflour.
  2. Heat a layer of oil in a frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, or until lightly golden. Remove the fish from the pan, drain thoroughly on paper towel and allow to cool.
  3. Take 1 sheet of rice paper and dip into very warm water for 1 second. Do not allow to soak as the paper will continue to take in water and will tear when rolled. Place on a flat surface and let it rest for 20 seconds.
  4. Lay 1 piece of fish, pineapple and cucumber across the bottom third of the sheet. Top with a generous amount of rice vermicelli, coriander and dill. Form the filling into a cigar shape. To make a tight roll, bring the bottom of the sheet up and over the filling, neatly fold in the sides and keep rolling. Place on a serving platter, seam side down, and continue with the remaining wrappers and filling. Serve with the tamarind sauce.
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