Spring rolls from Hanoi

Spring rolls from Hanoi

Under the Walnut Tree
Fanny Bergenström

These Vietnamese-style spring rolls (nem) are fantastic on an Asian buffet or as a starter. Enjoy them wrapped in crisp lettuce leaves with fresh mint and nuoc cham, a flavourful dipping sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
250g frozen spring roll pastry
30g glass noodles
250g minced pork
2 spring onions, shredded
1 small carrot, julienned
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 fresh chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour, (dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water), plus extra as ‘glue’
400ml peanut or neutral oil, for deep-frying
30 large crisp lettuce leaves
1 large bunch fresh mint leaves
Nuoc cham dipping sauce
or thai sweet chilli sauce


  1. Thaw the spring roll pastry. In the meantime, put the glass noodles in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water. Remove from the heat and let the noodles stand for 3-4 minutes, or according to the cooking instructions on the packet. Strain the noodles through a sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté the minced pork until browned, then add the spring onions, carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic, chilli, soy sauce and sugar. Simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  3. Dilute the cornflour in the cold water, and add to the pan. Cut the cold glass noodles into pieces using kitchen scissors, and then stir them into the mince and allow to cool.
  4. Gently fold out the spring roll pastry and cut into 12 cm squares (if not using pre-cut pastry). Place 1 heaped tablespoon of the filling close to one corner. Fold over the corner closest to the filling, then fold over the two side flaps and roll into a tight roll (rolling towards the last corner). Seal the pastry using a little extra cornflour dissolved in water as ‘glue’.
  5. Slowly and carefully heat the oil in a large saucepan. Deep-fry a few rolls at a time for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  6. Place the spring rolls on a large platter with the lettuce leaves and the mint. At the table, let everyone wrap their spring rolls (with a few mint leaves) in lettuce and dip in nuoc cham sauce or in store-bought Thai sweet chilli sauce. It’s nice to have both sauces in small bowls on the table.
Under the Walnut Tree
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