Fried spring rolls

Fried spring rolls

Nem rán Hà Nội

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

The humble spring roll is sometimes used as a metaphor for a good marriage. Wedding speeches, particularly in the south, refer to the recipe in all kinds of symbolic ways. For example, ingredients have to stick together to make both a marriage and a spring roll work. Even the frying oil is made to stand in as an image for romantic passion: if it is too hot, it will burn what it touches — both literally and figuratively! Corny as this may sound, it is also a wonderful indication of how central food is within Vietnamese culture.


Quantity Ingredient
4 dried black fungus
50g dried cellophane noodles
1 small jicama
400g minced pork
100g crabmeat
2 red asian shallots, finely diced
1 egg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 large rice paper sheets
or 24 small rice paper sheets
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Classic dipping sauce, to serve


  1. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze out any excess water. Discard the stems. Thinly slice the caps and place in a bowl.
  2. Soak the noodles in hot water for 1 minute, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain the noodles, then cut into 4 cm lengths using kitchen scissors. Add to the mushrooms.
  3. Peel and grate the jicama, then pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Add to the mushrooms with the pork, crabmeat, shallot, egg and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  4. Soften the rice paper sheets by dipping them one at a time into warm water for 1 second. Do not soak the sheets as they will become too soft and tear when rolled. Place on a flat surface, wait for 20 seconds, then soak up any excess water with a clean cloth.
  5. Put two tablespoons of the pork mixture on the bottom third of the sheet. Lightly squeeze the mixture to expel any air bubbles, then form the mixture into a cylinder. Bring the bottom of the sheet up over the filling, then fold in the sides and then roll up. Set aside, seam side down, while you prepare the remaining spring rolls.
  6. Heat 10–12 cm of oil in a deep frying pan or wok. Deep-fry the spring rolls in batches over medium heat for 3–4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Drain thoroughly on paper towel.
  7. Serve hot, with the dipping sauce.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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