December 2, 2011

Cambodian fresh spring rolls

To conclude this Cambodian series, here is the last recipe which I learnt to prepare when we stayed in Siem Reap last October.

I loved these Cambodian fresh spring rolls even more than their Vietnamese counterparts, as they skip the rice vermicelli and are just packed with lots of crunchy herbs and veggies, making a super light and refreshing dish. Some crushed peanuts provide the sweet dipping sauce with a special twist too.

The quantities below should allow you to prepare 4-5 rolls, which makes a substantial starter to be shared between two. Feel free to swap the pork for chicken, or even to just drop it all for some wholesome vegetarian rolls.

Ingredients for the rolls
1 carrot
1 short cucumber
2 snake beans (string beans will do the trick if you can't find any snake beans)
A handful of bean sprouts
A few coriander leaves (Cambodian coriander ideally if you manage to find some)
A bunch of sweet basil
10-12 crunchy leaves of lettuce
5 round rice paper sheets (you may want to plan a few extra sheets in case some break...)

Now for non-vegetarian rolls, you will also need…
A small piece of lean pork
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Vegetable oil
Palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Oyster sauce
A little vegetable stock
Black pepper

Ingredients for the dipping sauce
1 bulb of garlic
2 large red chilis
A bunch of coriander 
3 large shallots
The juice of 2 limes
Palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Fish sauce 
Chicken stock powder
Vegetable stock (~3 ladles, or 1.5 cup)
A handful of crusted peanuts

Start with the dipping sauce first, to allow it to cool down while you prepare the rolls.
Peel and chop the garlic, chili, coriander and shallots.

Blend everything together using a electric blender.
In a hot pan, bring 3 tbsp of palm sugar to the boil and let simmer until you obtain a caramel texture.
Add the blended mixture, 3 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 tsp of chicken stock powder and 3 ladles of vegetable stock. Let
boil for 1-2 minutes and transfer to a bowl to cool down.

Move on to the rolls now:
Peel and shred the carrot with a julienne peeler. Peel the cucumber, cut it in half lengthways, and cut each half into 3 sticks. Cut the snake beans into pieces equal in length to the cucumber sticks. Chop the coriander. Separate the sweet basil leaves from their stalk.

Should you want the vegetables slightly cooked rather than raw, you may steam them briefly (carrot, cucumber, snake beans and bean sprouts) over some boiling water.

Slice the pork finely. Heat some vegetable oil in a hot pan and fry the chopped garlic for a few seconds. Add the sliced pork and sear briefly. Add 1 tbsp of palm sugar, 1 tbsp spoon of oyster sauce, a little vegetable stock and some black pepper, and give it a good stir until it's all evaporated.

You now have everything ready to put the rolls together.

Prepare a large bowl filled with water at room temperature and a wooden board.

For each roll, proceed as follows:
- quickly dip the rice paper sheet in the water and transfer onto the wooden board (if too wet, the sheet may break when you start rolling)
- fold in the left side of the sheet ~2cm
- on the lower part of the fold, place 1 lettuce leaf, 1 cucumber stick, a couple of snake beans, a little carrots, bean sprouts, coriander and basil
- seize the free lower part of the rice paper sheet, bring it over the vegetables and roll a little to maintain everything well together
- add a little bit of pork, fold the right part of the sheet over and finish the roll
- arrange the roll over a lettuce leaf on a serving plate.

Before serving, add the lime juice to the dipping sauce, stir well and sprinkle with the crushed peanuts. Dispose the sauce at the centre of the rolls on the serving plate.


Hér Kitchén said...

looks great!!!

I am also writing my own blog; I post usually Turkish home cooking stuff. If you want to check it out:

have a nice day!

Florence Anna said...

Hi Ceren, thanks!
Have you tried the recipe? It's really easy and so nice for a hot day - which I guess is often the case in Turkey!
I have never been to Turkey and don't know Turkish food well (yet!), but I have heard lots of good things about both your country and the food there. Thanks for sharing your blog, I will definitely try some of your recipes when I return from this trip! What do you recommend that I start with for a typical Turkish dish?
Cheers, Florence

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! I'll be serving these to some friends this weekend. :) I just returned from Cambodia, where I took the same (I think) cooking class. Le Tigre de Papier?

Florence Anna said...

Hi Yipette,
Le Tigre the Papier indeed! Isn't this course great?
Were your spring rolls a success with your friends this weekend? I haven't had the chance to make some since we got back home yet. Soon though!
Best, Florence

Hér Kitchén said...

Hello Florence,

Sorry I saw your comment just now :/ I have not yet but this weekend I might! I am going to organize a Thai + Cambodian diné for friends in the weekend so I came across with your blog again :-) When I saw my name on the comments, I was quite surprised as I forgot my own comment!! :-)

Anyway, I stopped posting in my English blog. Nobody was reading it. I am frequently posting in my Turkish one though! To answer your question:
This one is pretty basic and doable qua ingredients. It is pretty tasty as well; hope you like it!

Btw, I have been to Cambodia as well and I ate some really great stuff there. It is a shame I forgot almost all the ingredients and methods of cooking I saw there! Luckily your blog will be some kind of help! thanks for sharing this

Have a nice day Florence

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