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Packed lunch ideas No.2 – Vietnamese spring rolls

These are very easy to make and so quick, once you have mastered the art of rolling! If you have never done them before do not be put off just follow my simple steps and dont panic if the first few are a mess, they still taste good and you can throw the ingredients into a salad bowl!

Lunch box idea No.2 – Vietnamese spring rolls

Another great reason for including these in the packed lunch ideas is that they are super versatile and cheap! You can pick up a pack of rice wrappers from all major supermarkets for less than 2€ and they last for ever. As for what you put in them, well the world is your oyster. They are so easy to make vegan or vegetarian, or if you have a non-veggie eater you can disguise any veggies and add shredded pork/chicken/duck – any meat to be honest. They work super well with fish and shellfish. You don’t need cutlery and they can be eaten anywhere/anyhow.

Rice wrappers – in France they are in the ‘world food’ selection of supermarkets

My version is heavy on the veggies, topped up with rice noodles and spiced tuna mayonnaise. He (Louis) is a fan of sweet chilli sauce so I gave him a little pot to dip into on the side. When I did it for us I added lots of fresh herbs and chillies too.

A while back I did a sushi recipe on this blog and these are the similar in that you need to prep everything first; have all the ingredients chopped and ready and then off you go. So start with prepping your veg; I washed and shredded lettuce, a mix of herbs (mint, basil, parsley and coriander), sliced spring onion tops, green chillies, shredded cucumber and radish. Then I drained a tin of dolphin-friendly tuna and mixed with mayonnaise, soy sauce, pickled ginger, crushed garlic, wasabi, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime juice.

Now make sure your surfaces are clean and clear. Dampen a clean teacloth and layout in front of you (this prevents the wrappers from sticking to the surface and is essential in my opinion), get a bowl or pan that is large enough to hold the rice wrappers and fill to about 2cm deep with boiling water (do this in advance and then by the time you are ready to use it it will be hand hot).

Dip your wrapper into the hot water so that it is fully submerged for a minute or two maximum. Place on the dampened cloth and fill. Start with the lettuce, place a strip of shredded lettuce in the middle ensuring that you are a good 2cm away from the left and right sides. Top up with the fillings of your choice. The order doesn’t really matter but it is pretty to finish with basil/mint leaves and shrimp if using. Don’t overfill, it is tempting to just keep on piling but it will all collapse in the end if you do!

When ready to roll start with the edges, fold in the left side then right (I am right handed, swap if you are left handed!) See below.

Fold in the sides first

Now fold the flap directly in front of you over to the top end and start to roll, tucking in as you go.

Fold up the bottom flap away from you and tuck in

Do it slowly to start with so that you can be sure to have a tight roll. If it rips slightly at the beginning you can usually disguise it, however if it rips towards the end it will fall apart and so that is what is known as a chefs treat! Gently rock and roll the wrapper to get a tight closure and place on a serving platter whilst you do the rest.

Roll tight, gently rock n’ roll it back and forth to ensure a tight seal

To serve you can cut into bite sized portions for an aperitif, cut in half or serve whole. I cut Louis’ into halves as it is easier for little hands to manage. Also as these tend to stick to whatever surface you put them on I put them into a Tupperware on a layer of greaseproof paper. You can make these the night before ready for school the next morning.

We had these for lunch too, I was going to save one for tonights tasting as they will pair really well with the two aromatic whites from Laurent Miquel, but Chris ate them all! Tant pis!

Yummy, fresh tasting spring rolls

If like me yours are full of veggies and aromatic herbs than you can partner with a range of aromatic white wines such as Picpoul de Pinet, Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, light Grenache blends (white). However if you have gone for richer flavours, such as roast duck in hoisin sauce, then partner with a fresh red wine; a Pinot Noir from Limoux, a youthful unoaked Syrah or Grenache. Enjoy and share your photos if you make them!

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