Fresh Vietnamese rice-paper rolls are pretty much like sandwiches – you can put anything in them and kids love them – they get to touch everything and assemble the roll how they like.
Makes For the omelette
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
½ tsp brown sugar
2 shallots, finely chopped
A knob of butter
For the summer rolls
12 lettuce leaves
24 mint leaves
24 coriander sprigs
120g dry rice vermicelli noodles (a quarter of a pack)
12 asparagus spears, sliced diagonally
2 ripe avocados, sliced
12 sheets of rice paper
For dipping sauce
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp smooth or coarse peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp runny honey
2 tbsp water
1 To make the omelette, mix the beaten eggs with soy sauce and sugar. In a small frying pan over medium heat, gently fry a quarter of the shallots until golden, then ladle over a quarter of the egg mixture. After a minute or less, flip the omelette to cook on the other side for a further 30 seconds. Set aside. Repeat three more times. Once cooled, slice into 1cm strips. Set aside on a plate.
2 To make the peanut butter dipping sauce, fry the chopped shallot in the same frying pan until golden. Meanwhile combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey and water in a small bowl then add to the pan. Heat gently and remove from stove and pour into sauce bowls.
3 Wash and dry the lettuce leaves, mint and coriander in a salad spinner. Set aside. Rehydrate the rice vermicelli by putting the dry noodles in a container and pouring boiling water on top to submerge. Cover with a plate, lid or chopping board. After 5 minutes or so, check the consistency and wait a further few minutes if it is not quite soft. Drain in a colander and rinse in warm running water from the tap until it runs clear of starch. Set aside to drain further and cover.
4 In a griddle pan, toast the asparagus spears. When cooled, slice diagonally into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Slice the avocado into thin slivers (5mm thick) or cubes. Set aside.
5 Set all of the cooked and prepped ingredients on to plates or bowls. Take a baking tray and fill halfway with water. Have everything ready at the table to begin assembly.
6 To assemble, dip the rice paper in the water, then immediately take it out and spread on to a chopping board. If you imagine the rice paper is a face, place a couple of strips of omelette where the mouth should be. Then add a couple slices of avocado, asparagus, mint leaves and coriander sprigs. Then a layer of vermicelli and a lettuce leaf.
7 Fold the “ears” on each side in, then fold the “chin” over the ingredients like a flap. Start rolling by pushing down and tightly tucking in all the ingredients with your fingers.
8 Repeat for all the other rolls. You can add the ingredients in any order. This is where children can become very creative and be put in control of their own rolls. Dip the rolls into the peanut butter sauce before eating.
Uyen Luu is a Vietnamese food writer and blogger based in London and the author of My Vietnamese Kitchen; @loveleluu