This recipe for Nem rán Hà Nội, or Hanoi-style fried rolls, is from Hanoi-based Chef Didier Corlou, owner and chef behind La Verticale and the recently-opened Madame Hiên. Chef Corlou, born in Brittany and who first arrived in Vietnam in 1991, is a master of combining French and Vietnamese ingredients and techniques to create unique new flavors.
11 1/2 oz (350g) pork shoulder
5 oz (150g) sweet white turnips
2 new-laid eggs
30 rice paper sheets
3/4 oz (20g) dried black mushrooms
5 oz (150g) cellophane noodles
5 oz (150g) soybean sprouts
5 oz (150g) onions
1 3/4 oz (50g) flour, lettuce leaves and fresh herbs
Garlic and chopped chilies
"nuoc mam" (fish sauce)
white rice vinegar
a little sugar
5 oz (150g) green papaya and carrot
Grind the pork meat.
Cut the sweet turnips, the onions and soybean sprouts in fine dices. Indent the chives.
Soak the cellophane noodles in tepid water for about 10 minutes. Rinse, drain and cut in small (1 to 2/3’’ to 5 cm) pieces with scissors.
Soak the mushrooms in tepid water for 10 minutes the wash them thoroughly, remove the stems and chop finely. Break the eggs.
Mix all the ingredients except the flour and rice paper sheets. Season with pepper. Mix the flour in a small bowl with a little water to make a sort of paste.
Spread each rice paper sheet. Place one tablespoon of stuffing at the base of each sheet, roll it. Fold in the sides over the center and roll all the way to enclose the filling in a roll which should be approximately 4’’ (10cm) long with 11/4’’ (3cm) diameter. Paste the edges of the sheets with a little sticky flour.
Fry the rolls in hot oil until they get a nice brown color.
For presentation, peel and slice the papaya and carrot, pickle them with a little salt and sugar. Leave 15 minutes. Wash again. Squeeze slightly. Set aside.
Mix the "nuoc mam" with a little water, vinegar and sugar. Add chopped garlic and chili and ground pepper.
Wash thoroughly the salad and herbs.
Serve hot. Dip the "nem" and salad in the sauce with the young papaya and carrot pickles.