Ground Pork & Shrimp Spring Rolls with a Sweet Chilli-lime-cilantro Dipping Sauce
There is nothing quite like biting into a crisp, paper thin wheat flour pastry filled with meat, shrimp, vegetables & aromatic herbs. Now to this, add the most flavorful dipping sauce with fish sauce, lime, garlic, fresh cilantro and the hint of sweetness and one is very nearly at heavens door when it comes to Vietnamese cooking.
I must have been in my early teens when I first made these - I was a huge fan of British Chef Keith Floyd and his series - Floyd on (country) series. In fact I made it a point to never miss a show. I loved the way he would absorb himself into the indigenous culture and cook right there - in the middle of the market, the field or the village with hundreds of onlookers gawking at him (all the while guzzling down copious amounts of wine) and so he was my first introduction in Vietnamese cooking. Now this isn't his recipe - his was with lobster and crab which I hope to dig out from my old tattered, dog-eared collection very soon. But nevertheless, it he I must thank too for my early influences in World cuisine.
Now, these fried Vietnamese spring rolls are my absolute favorite and the only trouble with them is that they more addictive than a bag of chips or a can of pistachios - ever tried eating just one? You'd have to have nerves of steel or non-functioning taste buds!
So my saving grace (I tell myself) is that the paper thin wheat pastry is so thin that as long as I don't devour more than 4-5 (girl guides honor!) I will not be breaking my cardinal rule of not binging.
The weekend before Christmas, they seem to be a nice little treat before all the festive cooking begins. A Sunday treat of a different genre if you will.
Just to get this straight on the onset, these rolls are certainly not to be confused with the Goi Cuon, Vietnamese salad rolls, also referred to as Vietnamese summer rolls - barbecued pork, fresh herbs, lettuce, sometimes fresh garlic chives, rice vermicelli are all wrapped up in moistened rice paper and served cold with dipping sauce and are certainly not fried - hence the term summer roll.
A very important component to making these successfully i.e the best tasting spring rolls ever , use only the wheat flour, paper thin variety of spring roll pastry sheets - not the wonton sheets and certainly not the thick egg roll sheets. These by the way are easily available at your local Asian store.
Back to our minced pork & shrimp spring rolls - I am super excited to have these for dinner so lets get going!
Happy Holidays One & All!