Chicken and coconut rolls

Chicken and coconut rolls

Gà cuốn dua

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

A good friend’s father worked as a cook for the French at the end of the colonial era. This is a dish he created. It is a great example of how Vietnamese cooks invented variations of standard dishes to please the European palates of their French superiors — in this case turning a straightforward spring roll into a more refined poultry parcel by adding coconut and leaving out the rice wrapper.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.6kg chicken
2 red asian shallots, peeled
10 kaffir lime leaves
50g roughly chopped fresh coconut
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for pan-frying
Lime and chilli dipping salt


  1. Run a sharp knife along each side of the chicken’s breast bone. Place your finger between the breast and the skin and gently lift the skin. Continue separating the skin from the flesh, taking care not to rip or tear the skin as you gently ease it off the meat. Set the skin aside for wrapping the rolls.
  2. Remove the breast fillets from the bone and reserve for another use. Now remove the remaining meat from the chicken carcass, roughly chop and set aside.
  3. Roughly chop the shallots and two of the lime leaves and place in a food processor. Add the coconut and process until you have a coarse mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Wipe out the processor, then process the chicken meat until minced. Add the chicken to the coconut mixture, along with the fish sauce, sesame oil, pepper and a pinch of salt. Mix until combined.
  5. To make the rolls, lay the reserved chicken skin flat on a chopping board, then cut it into 9 cm x 6 cm rectangles. Working with one piece at a time, lay a piece of the skin lengthways on the chopping board. Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture at the base of the skin, then roll up to cover the filling. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with the remaining skins, then shape any leftover chicken mixture into patties.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the rolls and the remaining 8 whole lime leaves and fry for 7–8 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through.
  7. Serve hot, with the dipping salt.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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