Prep 1 hr
Cook 20 mins
My mother-in-law taught me how to make Nhems when I lived in Tahiti on the island of Moorea. I have yet to meet anyone who could eat just one. I prefer to use chicken for the filling. What is nice about Nhems is they a similar to egg rolls or spring rolls but are much lighter in texture.
- 2 ounces cellophane noodles
- 3 chicken quarters, skinned and boned and ground
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped fined including the greens
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 0.5 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, diced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Nuccman, this brand is so common it is sold in oriental section of any name grocery store)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 (7 ounce) can crabmeat, cartilage removed and meat flaked (optional)
- 1⁄8 cup water
- 1⁄8 cup fish sauce
- 1⁄2 small lemon, juice of
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon flaked red chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 3 green onions, chopped fine
PREPARATIONS FOR ASSEMBLING
- 20 sheets rice paper sheets (banh trang)
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups peanut oil
ACCOMPANIMENTS FOR SERVING
- fish sauce (Nuccman)
- 1 large lettuce leaf
- mint leaf
- fresh cilantro
- Mix filling ingredients together, I do this with my hands.
- The sauce is personal so you have to play with it until you get the taste you like.
- Boil water in tea kettle or pot.
- Place noodles in bowl and poor boiled water to cover.
- Let sit while preparing other ingredients.
- When ready to use, drain and place back in bowl. Cut many times with scissors.
- Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and squish it all together like you were preparing meatloaf; set aside.
- Use the small round rice papers I use a big dish towel and leave it pretty wet and stretch it out on the kitchen counter.
- I then place a bowl of warm sugar water big enough to accommodate a whole rice paper (the sugar in the water makes the Nhems crispier when frying). Use 1 tbsp to 1 cup of water make sure it is dissolved.
- Next to it, I place my bowl of chicken mixture, and next to that my bowl with 2 beaten eggs.
- I have a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and sprinkled with cornstarch or a plate prepared the same way depending on how many I make.
- I also keep a bowl of water in the sink so I can rinse the goo of my fingers (it's sticky). I can usually fit 6 rice papers on my dish towel.
- Dip each on in the bowl of sugar water for 30 seconds, flip it over wait 30 seconds.
- Place softened paper on wet dish towel.
- Continue with this process until you have as many rice papers as you can fit on your towel.
- With a pastry brush, or fingers paint the beaten egg over the top edges of each of the pieces.
- When the wrapper looks soft and transparent, place about 1 heaping tbsp of filling near the bottom, Fold bottom up just to cover filling.
- Fold the sides towards middle keeping mixture firmly tucked into place continue to roll.
- Place on cookie sheet or plate.
- At this point you can cover with Saran Wrap and cook later.
- Put 2 inches of peanut oil in a large pan bring to a med high heat and fry Nhems until golden. This will take about 20 minutes.
- To serve the spring rolls, proceed as follows:
- Arrange the ingredients for the vegetable platter of large lettuce leaves and mint leaves. Using fingers Place Nhem in lettuce leaf cover with a couple mint leaves.
- Dip in sauce and try to eat just one!
I can't believe how easy these were! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!!!
I didn't like the taste of the filling. But the rolls fried up nicely.
These took about 2 hours to complete from start to finish. I will probably mix the filling ahead of time next time and roll them later in the day or the next day to break up the work. I used ground turkey and we thought the texture of the filling was good. The water chestnuts added a wonderful crunch. Needed a little something I think but that could be salt as I was afraid to add too much with the fish sauce and the soy sauce being so salty. I ended up with 30 rolls rather than the 20 stated on the recipe but fortunatly I had enough wrappers and will freeze the rest for another time.