RECIPE OF THE WEEK: spring rolls with chilli dipping sauce

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A TASTE of the Orient with these delicate spring rolls combined with a delicious dipping sauce.

By Antony Worrall Thompson, serves 4


For the spring rolls:

• 25g glass noodles

• 300g minced pork

• 5 dried wood-ear mushrooms

• 200 fresh crabmeat, shredded

• 2 shallots, finely chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 55g fresh bean sprouts, soaked in iced water

• 1 tbsp chopped coriander

• 1 tbsp fish sauce

• 1 pack rice wrappers

• flour and water combined to make a paste

For the Nuoc Cham chilli sauce:

• 2 tbsp palm sugar or honey

• 2 tbsp boiling water

• 1 garlic clove, crushed

• 2 tbsp fish sauce

• 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice

• grated zest of a lime

• 1 tbsp rice vinegar

• 2 red chillies, very thinly sliced


• For the spring rolls, soak the noodles in very hot water for 2 minutes or until soft. Drain and cut into 1 inch lengths. Soak the wood-ear mushrooms for 30 minutes, then cut into fine strips.

• Put noodles, mushrooms, pork, crabmeat, shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, coriander and fish sauce in a bowl and combine thoroughly.

• Dissolve two tablespoons of sugar in two cups of hot water and transfer to a deep, wide plate. Soak each rice wrapper briefly until it softens, then transfer to a dry towel.

• Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling just below the centre of the wrapper and roll tightly into a thick, compact cigar shape, folding in the sides as you go. Seal the final flap with a little of the flour and water paste. Deep-fry a few at a time in peanut oil until golden brown, or alternatively they can be steamed.

• For the Nuoc Cham sauce, stir sugar into water until dissolved, then combine with garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, lime zest, chillies and vinegar. Strain it if you wish or leave all the bits in.

• Traditionally the rolls are wrapped in pieces of fresh iceberg lettuce with a few Vietnamese mint leaves or Asian basil leaves and then dipped in a little bowl of Nuoc Cham.

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