Complimentary Recipe: Chicken, Taro and Glass Noodle Spring Rolls 'Por Pia Tod'

"I’m still in the Muslim eatery off Tanee Road and at every turn I feel like this food is taking me to a different part of the world. In a lovely sunlit spot I see a man making spring rolls, which he stacks so beautifully, forming a perfect pyramid of them on a big tray. I’m reminded that this might ‘just’ be street food, but people take such great care with it, and have incredible pride in everything they produce. These spring rolls make me feel like I could be in Saigon – they’re very similar to what I eat there. They’re halal though, so chicken is used for the filling, amped up with some glass noodles, carrot and taro, and seasoned with sugar, white pepper and fish sauce.

Just like in Vietnam, you eat these deep-fried morsels wrapped, with herbs, in a mustard green leaf and dunked into nuoc cham. Mustard green leaves have a great peppery flavour but at home you can just use butter lettuce leaves if you prefer. Once prepared, the spring rolls can be stored in the freezer and cooked when required; from frozen, they will take 7–8 minutes to cook." - Chef Luke Nguyen


25 x 22 cm spring roll papers, (about 1 packet)
1 teaspoon plain flour, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
80g glass noodles
50g dried black fungus (wood ear) strips
400g minced chicken
100g carrots, grated
150g taro, peeled and grated
½ onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fine white pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
25 mustard green leaves or butter lettuce leaves
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch Thai basil leaves
250ml Nuoc Cham, to serve

For the filling, soak the noodles and mushroom strips separately in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain and dry. Cut the noodles into 4 cm lengths, then combine with the remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Arrange the spring roll papers in a stack and cut diagonally to form two triangles, then separate the papers into single sheets.

Place one spring roll paper on a plate with the base of the triangle facing you. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture onto the centre of the base edge, then fold the two adjacent sides, one on top of the other into the centre to cover. Now roll up the sheet away from you towards the tip of the triangle to form a nice firm roll and secure with a dab of flour mixed with some water. Repeat until you have filled all of the papers.

Pour enough vegetable oil for deep-frying into a wok or deep-fryer and bring to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Add the spring rolls to the hot oil in small batches and deep-fry for 4–5 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot, wrapped in the lettuce and herb leaves, with a bowl of nuoc cham for dipping.

Recipe from Luke's Book and DVD - Street Food Asia. Click here to purchase the book now.

Phuong Nguyen