Lighter and healthier than fried versions, these Vietnamese-style spring rolls are filled with vibrant, fresh ingredients, bright colours and zingy flavours.
When they are served hot and crisp, straight from the fryer, spring rolls can be a tasty treat. Too often, though, they feature heavy, greasy pastry and a slimy filling and frankly aren't worth the calories.
In the following recipe, the crunchy vegetables are wrapped in rice paper rather than pastry. The result is a healthy, refreshing snack, perfect for a light lunch or dinner, particularly when the weather is as hot as it is now.
By poaching the chicken in flavoured stock and then leaving it to cool in the liquid you not only keep the meat nice and tender, but also impart plenty of flavour, without adding any fat. Of course, you could always substitute prawns or tofu or use leftover cooked chicken instead.
Vietnamese-style spring rolls (Serves 2)
350ml water or chicken stock
1 bunch coriander
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
20g ginger, peeled and sliced
1 chicken breast
1 carrot, peeled
6 spring onions
small bunch mint
75g bean sprouts
8 rice wrappers (rice paper)
For the dipping sauce:
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp caster sugar
-1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
Bring the chicken stock or water to the boil. Pick the leaves from the coriander and set aside. Add the stalks to the pan along with the chopped chilli, garlic cloves, ginger and the chicken breast. Cover with a lid and simmer for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the chicken to cool in the liquid.
Cut the carrot and cucumber into thin matchsticks. Slice the spring onions into pieces, finely chop the mint and the three quarters of the reserved coriander leaves. Shred the cooled chicken into thin pieces and combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Keep the stock and use it as a base for noodle soup.
Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip one rice wrapper at a time into the water and leave to soften for two to three seconds. Lay the wrapper out on a dry chopping board; after 30 seconds it will become soft and pliable.
Arrange a small handful of the mixture in a line across the middle of the wrapper, leaving a 3cm gap on each side. Fold the uncovered sides inward, then roll the wrapper into tight cylinder, starting at the end nearest to you. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and ingredients.
To make the dipping sauce, whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and garlic together until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the sliced red chilli and the remaining coriander.