I love Vietnamese food, but I’ve never attempted spring rolls at home before. When I was out locating some of our local Asian supermarkets in Oxford – Thong Heng Oriental on Windmill Parade in Headington, Jing Jing on Cowley Road and Lung Wah Chong next to Oxford train station – I noticed just how cheap the spring roll rice wraps were. You can buy a pack of about 40 (maybe more) for just £1.99. Plus you get to fill them with exactly what you want (or whatever you have left in the fridge at the end of the week).
I’ve also been on the hunt for good cheap fish in Oxford. Geographically Oxford isn’t really well positioned for fish, and as a result we are short of local fishmongers. I did however come across The Fish Market Oxford, which is the wholesalers that supply the fish to the Oxford Covered Market. They also deliver to your door.
Before Christmas I paid them a visit and found some excellent deals which I’ll be blogging about soon. One was their large bag of cooked and peeled prawns that I keep in the freezer for rare occasions. When used in spring rolls this way, you don’t have to use too many and so it can work out quite cost effective. Here’s the recipe:
Rice Wrap Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls
Take 100g of rice vermicelli noodles and soak them in boiling water for 5 minute until they are soft, then drain. Finely slice any vegetables you have in the fridge that you think may be suitable. I used cucumber, mushrooms and grated carrot and a handful of home grown coriander and mint. But spring onions, peppers, courgettes and even grated beetroot would work. Once you have about 1 cup of chopped vegetables add these to the noodles plus 100g of defrosted cooked peeled prawns. Season with the juice of half a lime.
Fill a flat serving dish with hot (not boiling) water. Soak 1 pancake at a time for 15-20 seconds until nice and soft. Spread the rice wrap on a plate making sure it’s not sticking to itself. This bit can be a bit fiddly but after a few it’s easy to get the hang of it. Place a handful of the noodle prawn mixture into the centre of the wrap. Roll from the side nearest to you tucking the bottom edge over and under the filling. Fold in the sides and roll upwards to complete the roll. The rice wrap should stick to itself to form the seal. I made 3 per adult and 2 per child. They are quite filling. Don’t over fill or they split.
For the dipping sauce you can make a simple chilli dip with grated garlic, ginger, chilli, lime juice and 1 tsp of sugar in a little warm water. If you like it salty you can add a tbsp of soy or fish sauce too. Or my favourite, home made Satay sauce. This is easy to make and absolutely delicious on anything and everything.
Satay Sauce Recipe
Take half a tin of coconut milk and heat with 2 tbsp of home made peanut butter. Season with 2 tsp of soy sauce, grated ginger, 1 glove of crushed garlic and 1 dried chilli. Delicious!
I served everything with an Asian coleslaw which was simply grated cabbage, carrot and onion with a chilli, garlic and lime dressing. EASY!
How’s the budget?
10 rice wraps = 40p
Rice noodles = 50p
Chopped veg for filling = 30p
100g of prawns = 85p
1/2 lime = 15p
£2.20 for 10 wraps
1/2 tin of coconut milk = 50p
2 tbsp peanut butter = 20p
soy, garlic, ginger, chilli = 20p
1/2 cabbage = 50p
Carrots = 20p
Onion = 5p
Lime, chilli, garlic, olive oil = 30p
Total = £1.05
Everything together = £4.05 for 4 people
If you want to make this even more frugal you could replace the prawns with crushed peanuts and use the chilli lime dressing instead of Satay sauce. This would probably save you £1. You could also experiment with left over roast chicken or sliced tofu – a very versatile recipe.