Seasoned with nuoc mam pha, these pork patty, herbs and arugula spring rolls come with bright and fresh flavors of Vietnam. Inspired by an episode in a TV show.
If a food show has a reality TV format, I skip it. It’s that simple. I prefer informative and entertaining but sans the contrived drama. Like Good Eats with Alton Brown. And Foodography. These are two of the few programs in Food Network that we still watch (Foodography actually airs via Cookingchanneltv.com but, locally, we get it via Food Network). A couple of nights ago, there was an episode on grilling and among the cooks were the people behind The White On Rice Couple, The Manila Machine and Dishin’ It Out. Among the dishes cooked were sisig and a Vietnamese spring roll with grilled ground pork patties in the filling.
This is a variation of the spring rolls with grilled ground pork filling. Ground pork is seasoned with the ubiquitous Vietnamese seasoning cum condiment called nuoc cham, formed into flattened logs and pan fried. Then, the browned and caramelized patties, along with arugula, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro and mint, are wrapped in rice paper. Each roll is cut into two (or three) to expose the beautifully layered filling inside. So fresh tasting, so aromatic, so many layers of flavor. My kind of food.
- 250 grams ground pork with at least 20% fat
- juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
- 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce) (fish sauce)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon finely minced ginger
- 1/2 bird's eye chili finely chopped (or substitute chili flakes)
- 6 sheets rice paper
- salad greens (I used a mix of lettuce and arugula)
- cucumber cut into thin sticks
- fresh mint leaves
- fresh cilantro
Make the marinade. Mix together the lemon or lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic and chilis.
Place the ground pork in a bowl. Pour in the marinade. Mix well.
Divide the mixture into six portions; form each portion into a log about an inch and a half in diameter then flatten with your hand to a thickness of less than a half inch.
Fry the pork patties in a frying pan or wok. If you’re using non-stick cookware, there is no need to add oil. Just fry over medium-high heat, allow the underside to brown before flipping. About two minutes per side should be just right.
Cool the patties for a few minutes.
Prepare a wide shallow bowl for dipping the rice paper. For more details about rice paper and how to use it, see the Vietnamese spring roll recipe; there is a step-by-step guide there.
Lay a rehydrated rice paper on the work surface. Place some greens near the center. Place a pork patty on top of the greens. Top the patty with cucumber sticks, mint and cilantro. Roll to seal the fillings. Repeat until all the patties are snugly inside the sheets of rice paper.
With a very sharp knife, cut each spring roll horizontally into two to three pieces. Arrange the rolls, cut side up, on a plate or bowl and serve.
The meat is well seasoned and a dipping sauce is not really necessary. If, however, you have to have dipping sauce as a matter of habit, you might want to double the amount of marinade and reserve half for a dipping sauce.