Making spring rolls is like making pancakes: you have to get a feel for it, and until you do, you have to be willing to give up your unsuccessful efforts to the kitchen gods. Since this recipe yields 40 rolls, it’s okay if the first few are “experiments.” These spring rolls, originally featured in “The Art of Eating in Vietnam,” a 1996 SAVEUR story reported from Saigon by Mary Ann Eagle, are similar to those you’ll find at casual restaurants across that city.
- 2 oz. dried cellophane noodles
- 1 oz. dried wood ear mushrooms
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled; 1 grated, 2 sliced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 40 triangular rice-paper wrappers (rounded edge about 9")
- 2 oz. dried rice vermicelli
- 1 head leaf lettuce, washed and separated
- 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup fresh holy or sweet basil leaves
- Vegetable oil
- <a href="https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Vietnamese-Dipping-Sauce-21391828">Vietnamese Dipping Sauce</a>
- Soak cellophane noodles in hot water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and chop. Meanwhile, rinse mushrooms and soak in hot water until soft, about 15 minutes; then drain, trim stems, and finely chop. Combine cellophane noodles, mushrooms, pork, onions, and grated carrot in a bowl. Mix well; stir in egg; and season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, soak one wrapper in a bowl of hot water until pliable, 15–30 seconds. Place on a dish towel, rounded side towards you. Place 1 tbsp. filling 1″ from long edge, fold edge over filling, then fold in sides—tear off excess corners of wrapper—and roll tightly. Repeat process, changing water occasionally, to make all rolls.
- Soak vermicelli in warm water until soft, about 15 minutes, then cook in boiling water over medium heat for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse under cold water, and transfer to a platter with sliced carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, and basil.
- Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Fry rolls a few at a time, turning to brown evenly, until crisp, 3–5 minutes. Drain. To eat, wrap each roll with desired garnishes in a lettuce leaf, then dip into dipping sauce.