I love the healthy freshness of Vietnamese rice paper rolls. They’re incredibly satisfying to eat and surprisingly simple to make. Even if you’re a little cack-handed, the rice paper sheets are pretty forgiving and will easily form some kind of roll no matter how much you screw things up. Make sure you make the dipping sauce too it’s integral to the overall taste – a sweet, sour and slightly spiced addition to the freshness of the rolls.
For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup caster sugar
100ml white vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce (from anchovies)
2 small red chillies (very finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (very finely chopped)
For the rolls:
1 duck breast
5 dried rice paper roll sheets
1 cup coriander leaves
1 cup mint leaves
3 spring onions (very thinly sliced lengthways)
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
2 cups cooked vermicelli noodles
To make the dipping sauce:
Pour 100ml of boiling water into a bowl and then pour in the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar and fish sauce and stir in the garlic and chilli. Leave to cool.
To make the rolls:
Score the skin of the duck then place, skin down into a small dry frying pan. Bring the heat up to moderate and let the duck cook for 7 minutes until the skin is crispy and brown. Turn over and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest. When cooled slightly, cut into small pieces with the skin intact and set aside.
Fry the peanuts in the oil from the duck until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels then lightly crush into smaller pieces
Mix together the mint, coriander and spring onion and set aside.
Have a large bowl of water (2 cups boiling, 1 cup cold) by your side. Dip in 1 rice paper sheet and plunge to the bottom. Lift out immediately and place flat on a dinner plate. In the bottom half, away from the edges add 1/5 of the duck pieces, a sprinkle of peanuts, a small handful of noodles and a small handful of the mint, coriander and spring onions. Roll up from the bottom, gathering each side in as you go to form fat roll. Arrange on another plate and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Serve the rice paper rolls with a side of dipping sauce.