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How to make it: Thuy Pham's vegetarian summer rolls recipe

This Vietnamese recipe, from the owner and executive chef of London's Little Viet Kitchen, is perfect for parties.

By Thuy Pham
Published 5 Apr 2018, 19:00 BST, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 11:58 BST
Vegetables, fish, meat or even fruit can be added to summer rolls, but always add plenty of ...

Vegetables, fish, meat or even fruit can be added to summer rolls, but always add plenty of herbs.

Photograph by Thuy Pham

Summer rolls are one of those dishes where it pays to get creative. Once you've got to grips with the recipe you can start playing around with the ingredients to suit your tastes. Changing the fillings will completely alter the flavours and textures, so try adding different vegetables, fish, meat or even fruit — but always plenty of herbs. If you can track them down, viola flowers make a pretty addition. You can serve this dish DIY-style, meaning lots of fun to be had around the table. The more you roll, the better you'll get. I promise. 

Vegetarian summer rolls recipe

Makes: 6-8 rolls
Takes: 30 mins


2 tbsp vegetable oil
30g dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked for 20 mins and air-dried for 10 mins
100g leeks
100g carrots
100g swede
100g red cabbage
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
6-8 sheets summer roll rice paper
50g cooked vermicelli rice noodles
20g fresh mint leaves
20g coriander, stems only
3-5 viola flowers per roll (optional)

For the soy dipping sauce

2 tsp sugar
½ large lime, juiced
2 tbsp of soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 bird's eye chillies, finely diced


1. Make the soy dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. It can be kept for up to a week in a refrigerated, airtight container.

2. Julienne all the vegetables and mushrooms.

3. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over a high heat. Add all the veg and stir-fry for 1 min.

4. Add the sugar, soy sauce and ½ tsp salt, and cook for a further min. Remove from the heat; leave to cool for 15 mins.

5. Dunk a rice paper sheet in a bowl of lukewarm water, then lay it flat on a chopping board or large plate to dry (approx. 1 min). Place your viola flowers (if using) face down in a line across the centre of the rice paper, leaving a 5cm gap on each side. Neatly place a generous amount of the mushrooms and each of the vegetables over the top of the flowers. Add a thin strip of noodles, and then top with 5-6 mint leaves and a few coriander stems.

6. To seal, fold each side of the rice paper in towards the centre, then fold the bottom of the sheet up over the top of the filling like an envelope; tightly roll. This is the tricky part as you need to be both gentle and firm simultaneously, ensuring that you get a nice tight roll without breaking the paper or letting any of the fillings escape. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Find more recipes from Thuy Pham on Little Viet Kitchen

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