Glass noodle spring rolls


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Temple food I call it. Such delicate offerings should be eaten with the ritual of dips, leaves, herbs and wedges of tomato. Contrasts are all. Extra dipping sauces can make an appearance too, or a small saucer of fish sauce floated with rings of sliced hot chilli. An easy one.


  • 5 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100 ml rice vinegar
  • ½ tbsp finely chopped red chilli
  • salt
  • 100 g dried glass vermicelli noodles
  • 20 spring-roll wrappers (not rice papers), about 15 cm square
  • vegetable or groundnut oil
  • lettuce leaves, for wrapping (or cut pieces of banana leaf, for holding)
  • a small bunch Thai sweet basil


In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, rice vinegar and 3 tbsp water. Add the chilli, bring to a bubble then cook until reduced and syrupy. Lightly salt, leave to go cold, then pour into small dipping sauce bowls. Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water for about 12 minutes, or until just soft, then drain, toss with a little salt and snip into 10cm lengths. To assemble the rolls, lay a spring-roll wrapper on a board, lay a bunch of noodles near the edge of one side, roll over once firmly to enclose the noodles, then fold in the two sides to overlap the exposed roll ends, and continue to roll up neatly and firmly. Moisten the remaining edge with a little water, gently firm together, then leave seam-side down on a tray. Do the same with all the wrappers - keeping the unrolled wrappers covered with a damp tea-towel to prevent them from drying out.

Heat a deepish pool of oil in a wok, then test it with a piece of spring-roll wrapper - it should gently turn golden brown and splutter when it hits the fat. Deep-fry the rolls in batches of five for about 3 minutes, then remove with a sieve, drain and rest on kitchen roll. Scoff wrapped in herb and leaf, dunking in sauces between each mouthful.