Vietnamese rice paper rolls have always been a staple food in my household. They’re such a fresh, flavoursome dish that take hardly any time to prepare and are a great meal to have with family and friends. One of my favourite things about them is that they’re an incredibly healthy but filling dish packed with a great balance of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fibre. And the abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs give these rolls so much aroma, taste and texture.
Growing up, I always remember the dinner table being filled with plates loaded with fresh home grown mint, an assortment of other fresh herbs, lettuce leaves and cut up sticks of cucumber. My parents and I would sit and roll rice paper rolls together and my mum would always gently nudge me to add more lettuce or cucumber to my roll. Whenever I finished making a rice paper roll, my mum would immediately remind me to get the rice paper soaked and ready for the next roll. That way, by the time I finished eating my roll, the rice paper would be softened and ready to be stuffed and rolled straight away. I remember thinking it was funny how she always wanted to be efficient in everything, even eating, but it makes me giggle that I do the exact same thing to my husband these days too.
Typically rice paper rolls tend to have prawn and pork as the meat filling, and while I love these traditional flavours, these days I like to make the protein filling a touch more exciting. My favourite speedy fillings include lemongrass tofu or chicken, leftover roast pork belly, and most recently duck flavoured with Thai red curry sauce.
I created this recipe in partnership with Luv-A-Duck (#sponsored) as I have always loved their products and their Thai Red Curry Duck legs are just so delicious. They’re quick to make and add so much flavour to the rice paper rolls as the red curry is beautifully spiced with hints of fresh kaffir lime leaf. They definitely make for a more luxurious take on dinner.
For the Peanut Dipping Sauce
4 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp natural peanut butter (I prefer crunchy but smooth is good too)
2 tbsp sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbp cornflour
Chopped roasted peanuts and fresh chilli to serve
For the Rice Paper Rolls
10 – 15 round rice paper sheets
100g dried vermincelli rice noodles
1 bunch butter lettuce, leaves removed and washed
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into batons
1 cup carrot, shredded (if you can get your hands on pickled carrot, do so as this takes the dish to a whole new level)
Fresh herbs including mint leaves, coriander, Vietnamese mint, spring onion (use as much or as little of all these as you like, as the quantities will vary depending on what you like and what you have available)
- To make the Peanut Dipping Sauce, stir the Hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and sugar together in a small bowl. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Add the minced garlic and fry for 30-60 seconds until fragrant (but not browned). Add the Hoisin/peanut butter mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup of the water and mix well to ensure no lumps form. Add the remaining water, vinegar and cornflour and stir continuously to form a smooth sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and remove from heat. You may need to add more or less water to make it the consistency of a thin custard. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped roasted peanuts and chilli to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C and place the Luv-A-Duck Thai Red Curry legs onto a lined tray and bake for 15 minutes (or cook in the microwave for 3½ minutes). Shred the meat from the bones and set aside.
- Prepare vermincelli noodles by placing the dried noodles in a bowl and covering with boiling water for 2-5 minutes (or just follow the cooking instructions on the pack). Drain and set aside.
Now let’s get ready to roll!
- To start rolling, fill a large bowl with hot (not boiling water). I like to make my rolls with 1½ rice paper rounds. Submerge 1 full rice paper into water and place onto a large plate, immediately dip the half round in the water and place on top towards the end of the circle. The double sided section of the rice paper is where all your fillings will go so that it’s stronger and less likely to burst.
- Place a small amount of lettuce, noodles, duck, carrot and some herbs onto the rice paper. The trick is to not over fill it with too much. Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in so that the ends of the filling are covered (so they don’t fall out). Then firmly roll up the ingredients, pressing and rolling as you go.
- Serve and eat immediately with the peanut dipping sauce (but don’t forget to prep your next rice paper first before doing so!)