Vietnamese Summer Rolls

These are great fresh summer lunches to prepare in advance. Healthy and nutritious they are a great alternative to a sandwich and can be prepared with a variety of fillings.

While the recipe looks long, this is something I normally do on a week-end while i watch a film. it is all about the prep of the ingredients, which is quite simple, and the set-up of an assembly station.

Makes 12 rolls Prepare in: 20 minutes Feeds: 6 People
Effort: Easy Price: Cheap

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  • Large Rice paper parcels (these are circular and brittle and can be purchased from any Asian food store)
  • Thin rice noodles
  • 6-10 large cooked and shelled prawns
  • 2 handfuls cooked chicken (leftovers from a cooked chicken work wonders here)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 handful roasted peanuts crushed
  • 1bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 large grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (from anchovies – Nuoc Mam)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt

For the sauce:

You can go as easy or complicated on the sauce. This time I made a rich peanut and chilli sauce (after realising that I had forgotten the peanuts…). for this sauce I used:

  • 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • large pinch fresh chopped red chilli to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon peanut oil or sesame seed oil
  • 1 small squeeze honey

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until rich and glossy. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.



Prepare all your fillings first and place in bowls or on plates in sections so that once you are ready, it is just a matter of constructing the rolls.

  • For the prawns, slice them in half lengthways.
  • Pour boiling water on the rice noodles until soft, drain and immerse in cold water. Leave them in the cold water as it will prevent the noodles from drying before you use them.
  • For the cucumber, slice open lengthways and scoop out the seeds. You can use these for another recipe or in juices and soups. Slice the remainder of the cucumber into long fine sticks. Place in a colander over a plate or sink and sprinkle with the table salt. After 10 minutes squeeze out the moisture out of the cucumber gently.
  • Chop the spring onions into long strips.
  • De-seed the chilly and cut half into thin strips. Dice the other half. The diced section will be used for the dipping sauce.
  • Combine the rice vinegar and nuoc mam fish sauce in a bowl. Add the sugar and microwave gently for 1 minute and stir the sugar gently until dissolved. If more heat is needed microwave again 30 seconds at a time stirring in between each. Add the garlic finely chopped and half the red chili. Let the dipping sauce cool.
  • If you are using the peanut butter sauce, add  this to the inside of the rolls in small quantity. This should run the length of the summer roll. 
  • For the chicken, if you are not using leftover, you can steam the breast with a splash of soy sauce and shred with two forks.

chopped chilis

Once your station is ready, select a plate bigger than the rice paper circles and deep enough to fill with warm water. Immerse the rice paper into the warm water one sheet at a time, once softened transfer to a separate plate and put the next rice paper circle in the water to soften while you fill the first.

To fill the parcel, start with a few mint leaves and prawn halves and sprinkle with crushed peanuts. These should be arranged upside down at the centre and top of the rice paper, as they will look very nice on the outside once you seal the roll.

Add a small handful of noodles. When removing these from the water, blot over a tea towel before adding to your roll.

Add chicken, a selection of each vegetable and herb. You may add a little sauce to the parcel or use the sauce as a dip when you eat the parcel. Fold the top and sides over the filling and roll to the end of the parcel.

Repeat until all ingredients have been used. I like to wrap these in cling film for ease of transport. These should keep in the fridge for a few days assuming you have used fairly fresh ingredients.

cooked prawns

One thought on “Vietnamese Summer Rolls

  1. This look great!
    I have made similar before but never thought to wrap them in cling film and put them in my lunch box. I always thought they would dry out or something. Will have to give this a try!

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