Sweet and tangy pork, water spinach (kangkong) and pineapple spring rolls

casaveneracion.com Sweet and tangy pork, water spinach (kangkong) and pineapple spring rolls

Ten years ago, if you had asked me what my favorite sauce is in the whole world, I’d probably have said, “Sweet and sour sauce.” If you had asked me the same question five years ago, I would have said, “Pesto.” These days, it’s the sweet and tangy Vietnamese nuoc cham. It’s basically a sweet and sour sauce but it isn’t cooked to thicken. Garlic and chilis are pounded to a paste then mixed with fish sauce (patis to Filipinos), lime juice, vinegar and sugar. I used all those basic nuoc cham ingredients, threw in some finely chopped ginger for added heat and aroma, and used them to season the filling for these spring rolls.

I love spring rolls for many reasons. They remind me of my childhood, they are so darn cute, they are uncomplicated to eat and they’re like a present — beautifully wrapped and, inside, a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors and textures. Unlike a gift, however, the spring roll wrapper is just as important as the filling. For fresh (as opposed to fried) spring rolls, I can’t quite decide these days which  I like better — the crepe-like egg-y wrapper or the Vietnamese rice paper. Not that I have to choose one over the other, really, but since I’m so into everything Vietnamese these days, I chose rice paper for this recipe.

Recipe: Sweet and tangy pork, water spinach (kangkong) and pineapple spring rolls


  • 1 tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 200 g. of ground pork
  • 1 heaping tbsp. of finely minced garlic
  • 1 heaping tbsp. of finely chopped ginger
  • 2 finger chilis, thinly sliced
  • juice of one lime or lemon
  • about 1 tbsp. of fish sauce
  • 3 to 4 tbsps. of sugar
  • 2 to 3 slices of fresh pineapple, cut into half-inch cubes to measure one cup
  • a small bunch of water spinach (kangkong), cut into half-inch pieces, thick stalks and leaves separated
  • 8 to 10 pieces of rice paper
  • a handful of cilantro


  1. Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
  2. Over high heat, add the pork, garlic and ginger.
  3. casaveneracion.com pork-kangkong-pineapple-spring-rolls2
  4. Cook, stirring, until the pork is no longer pink.
  5. casaveneracion.com pork-kangkong-pineapple-spring-rolls2
  6. Add the chilis and cook, stirring, for a minute. Pour in the fish sauce and lime or lemon juice. Sprinkle in the sugar. Stir. Allow to cook with occasional stirring until almost dry.
  7. Add the pineapple cubes. Stir.
  8. casaveneracion.com pork-kangkong-pineapple-spring-rolls2
  9. Add the thick stalks of the kangkong. Stir. Cook for a minute.
  10. Add the thinner stalks and leaves of the kangkong. Stir. Cook for another minute.
  11. casaveneracion.com pork-kangkong-pineapple-spring-rolls2
  12. Taste. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  13. casaveneracion.com pork-kangkong-pineapple-spring-rolls2
  14. Transfer to a shallow bowl. It is a complete dish at this point. You can serve it with rice and it’s very, very good.
  15. But I wanted spring rolls. So, I waited a little bit until the mixture has cooled so as not to create steam inside the rice paper which would make it soggy.
  16. After the mixture has cooled almost to room temperature, you can use it as a spring roll filling, as I did.
  17. Dip a rice paper in water until softened (see illustration) then lay flat on your work surface. Place a heaping tablespoonful or two (depending on the size of your rice paper) at the middle, top with some torn cilantro and wrap.
  18. Repeat until all the rice paper had been filled. or until you run of out filling, whichever comes first.
  19. These spring rolls are already perfectly seasoned and they don’t require a dipping sauce.

casaveneracion.com Sweet and tangy pork, water spinach (kangkong) and pineapple spring rolls

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2


  1. Crisma says

    I like that– Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes! Efficient! Just right for today’s fast paced living. Pero naman, when we savor something like this, sana naman hindi 10 minutes. We take time to savor the good things in life.

  2. April Veranga says

    Hi Ms. Connie,

    I tried this recipe for our Sunday lunch today and my family loves it especially my sister who is a picky eater :) Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Take Care!!