- 12 rice paper wrappers
- 12 large cooked prawns, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
- Handful fresh bean sprouts
- 1 small cucumber, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 16 fresh mint leaves
- DIPPING SAUCE
- 100g (3½oz) sugar
- 125ml (4fl oz) white rice vinegar
- Lime juice and grated zest
- 1 lime
- ½ medium red chilli
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Make the dipping sauce by simmering the sugar, vinegar, lime juice and zest, and chilli in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Set aside to cool.
- Soak the rice paper rounds in a bowl of hot water for about 20 seconds, then drain well on a clean tea towel or kitchen paper (do this in small batches).
- Place two mint leaves down the centre of each wrapper. Top with two prawn halves, 5 to 6 bean sprouts, some cucumber, pepper and a leaf or two of coriander and mint. Fold over one side and then roll up lengthways (into a cigar shape) to enclose the filling. Once made, prevent them from drying out too much by keeping them covered with a well-squeezed, slightly damp cloth.
- Pour the dipping sauce into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve sauce alongside the rice-paper rolls.
ROASTED DUCK; If you live within easy distance from a Chinese food shop that sells roasted Chinese ducks, take advantage of this great ingredient to make roasted duck rolls. Remove the flesh from a half duck and shed it into thin lengths. Soak and drain 12 rice paper sheets (as described above), then lay one on a board and arrange some chives down the centre (they can be longer the rice-paper sheet itself). Top with some duck meat, thinly sliced cucumber, coriander leaves, spring onion and fresh pea shoots. Spoon a little Chinese plum sauce over the top. Fold up one end, then roll lengthways into a cigar shape, to enclose the filling. Serve four.
VEGETARIAN; If you want to add noodles to vegetarian spring rolls, place about 50g (1¾oz) thin rice noodles in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Stand for about 5-7 minutes (check the packet for instructions), then drain and cut them into 5cm (2in) lengths. Use a mixture of crisp, thinly sliced vegetables and herbs; bean spouts, pea shoots, cucumber, carrots, peppers, spring onions, avocado slices all work well.