The crispiest, fried Hanoi spring rolls paired with a platter of herbs and greens. Only acceptably served with traditional nuoc mam dipping sauce and ice cold beer.
This version is adapted from Jerry Mai’s cookbook, Street Food Vietnam: Noodles, salads, pho, spring rolls, banh mi.
Rice paper sheets, a widely available brand is Banh Trang
Full container of vegetable or peanut oil for deep-frying
Nuoc mam dipping sauce (recipe below)
1 lbs of ground pork
75 grams of wood ear mushrooms, roughly chopped*
50 grams of cellophane noodles, cut with shears
25 grams of shredded carrots
2–3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 teaspoons of granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of green onions
half a bunch of Thai or purple basil
2 heads of Little Gem, red leaf lettuce or Bibb lettuce, cored and separated
Couple handfuls of spicy arugula (specifically Plenty Baby Arugula)
*When cleaning wood ear mushrooms, soak them in hot water for 15–20 minutes to remove dirt and debris. Drain on paper towels before cutting into pieces.
- Soak the cellophane noodles in hot water for 15 minutes until they are pliable. Then drain the water and cut them into bite size pieces with kitchen shears.
- In a large bowl, combine the pork, mushrooms, cooked glass noodles, carrots, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Working with your hands, mix until everything is evenly distributed.
- Heat the cooking oil to 350 degrees.
- Dip the rice paper into a bowl of cold water, transfer to a clean work surface. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto the center of the rice paper, fold in the sides and then roll up tightly like a doobie. Making sure you keep as much of the air out as possible — otherwise it will pop in the hot oil.
- Fry in batches, cook for 8–12 minutes or until they are GBD- golden brown and delicious. Once extracted, drain on paper towels. Repeat.
- Using the lettuces as a base, make a wrap, adding some herbs in between before dipping into the nuoc mam.
For the Nuoc Nam Dipping Sauce
- Mix 3/4 cup of water, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons of fish sauce, juice from 1 lime, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, and 1 chopped bird’s eye chili