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Fresh beef, mango and mint spring rolls

The only thought that comes to mind when you bite into these Vietnamese crystal spring rolls is utter refreshment. No deep fat fryers are required, but I won’t lie and tell you that they are a doddle. A deft hand is needed for rice paper wrappers, which can be slippery nightmares. But even when less-than-perfect looking, they still taste amazing. Nigella Lawson demonstrated them on her Forever Summer program and I can’t say they were very beautiful. If hers aren’t, then you’re certainly allowed a few wonky ones. I have been making them for years and the trick is not to hurry and keep them skinny. Too much filling makes them rip and then you can start to get edgy. Get everything chopped, ready and then get a feel for the technique.

Most fresh rolls contain cooked rice noodles, prawns, chicken or beef and other vegetables like carrot, daikon (white radish) or red onion. Fresh herbs of mint, coriander and basil are always included and give them a burst of freshness. When I was in Hoi An, Vietnam recently, many of the restaurants served these with pork or beef and mango. I had never tasted fruit in them before, but loved it and decided to give it a go when I got home. Its perfect for hot and humid weather when lighter food suits. If we have a scorching hot British summer (don’t hold your breath), this is just the ticket.

Fresh beef, mango and mint spring rolls
makes 16 rolls

250g seared and cooked beef fillet (medium rare is good) thinly sliced
1 large mango cut into half inch long pieces
2 shallots thinly sliced
large handful each of coriander, mint and fresh basil leaves
1 bunch chives
12 circular rice paper wrappers (6 inch in diameter)

Dipping sauce (Nuoc cham)
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 chili sliced
1 clove garlic finely chopped

Mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and pour into a couple of small bowls. (you can also serve with sweet chili dipping sauce if like) Place the beef mango, shallot, mint, coriander, and chives in separate piles on a tray.


Place large tea towel on working surface. Pour hot water in a bowl. Drop one rice paper wrapper at a time into hot water for about 30 seconds.

When soft and pliable, place the wrapper on tea towel and wipe off the excess water with another towel. Throw away any wrappers that rip and start again with a fresh one. It may take a few to get the knack, so don’t get discouraged. If the wrapper is too soft, it will fall apart, and if it’s too hard, it will not stick together. Practice a few so you can get a feel for the right consistancy.

Place a small pile of beef, mango, noodles, shallot, basil, mint, coriander at the lower bottom of the wrapper. Fold the lower bottom in and then the sides. Before you finish rolling it up all the way, place a chive in and then roll into a tight roll. Place seam side down on a tray.

When ready to serve, cut each spring roll in half diagonally with a very sharp knife or leave whole. Pour dipping sauce into a small bowl and serve on the side.
NOTE: If you want to make these 8 hours in advance; store on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with more baking paper and then seal with plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated until serving.


  1. Libby says:

    wow – those look amazing!!!

  2. mealsinheels says:

    Thanks Libby! You’ll have to give it go.


  3. habithacker says:

    Your rolls are beautiful (and don’t I love how your ring goes with them). The touch of the chives coming out either end is so very Meals in Heels!

    Here in Colorado, where we’re having 95 degree days, this would be perfect.

    What do you think of a veggie version? Somehow tofu/mango does not sound right in my imagination…but I’m used to being wrong.

    I remember the first time I tried to do rice paper rolls…you could have called it my “tear roll and tears roll” routine. I made other dishes that night, too, and I think I served dinner around 11 pm and was exhausted.

    If you’re as much of a bungler as I am, buy double the amount you plan to use and expect the “nightmare” Jenny describes. You know, I think a big problem I’ve had is stuffing them so full. I’m glad for the tip about keeping these babies thin. Thanks for another inspiring recipe.

  4. mealsinheels says:

    Hi Jean,

    I know you do fish, so how about prawns and mango? If its straight veggie then I would do avocado, mango and the same fresh herbs. Just give the avocado a squirt of citrus before rolling up. They really aren’t that hard, so if you are expecting the worst, you will be pleasantly surprised at your success.


  5. mealsinheels says:

    Hi Jean,
    I forgot to say that the Jade ring was from Vietnam and must say it does happen to look good with the food. Had meant to take that off. Its a great reminder of the colour of the sea there.

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