Chefs' Recipes

Sunda's beef rice paper rolls

This dish is head chef Khanh Nguyen's favourite thing to eat, hands down.

By Khanh Nguyen
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 10 mins cooking (plus marinating, pickling)
  • Serves 8 - 10
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Beef rice paper rolls
"This is probably my favourite thing to eat of all time, and it's really fun, because everyone can roll their own," says Khanh Nguyen of Melbourne restaurant Sunda. "The dipping sauce is my grandma's recipe but I've added brown butter for extra richness. It's seriously addictive." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef and pickle the carrot.

Ingredients

  • 100 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 200 gm rice vermicelli
  • 30 large rice paper wrappers (about 340 gm)
  • 1 green apple, cut into batons
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, cuts into batons
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves separatead
  • 3 cups (firmly packed) Asian herbs, such as shiso leaves, mint and Vietnamese mint
  • Bean sprouts (optional), to serve
Marinated beef
  • 500 gm skirt steak, thinly sliced
  • 100 gm roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp mam mem (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp fish sauce
Pickled carrots
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne
  • 50 ml fish sauce
  • 50 ml white vinegar
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • 50 ml caster sugar
Pineapple dipping sauce
  • 50 gm diced unsalted butter
  • 100 gm roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple in juice, including juice
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only), thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ birdseye chilli, coarsely chopped, plus extra sliced to serve
  • 2 tbsp mam mem (see note)

Method

  • 1
    For marinated beef, combine ingredients and 1 tsp salt in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
  • 2
    For pickled carrot, combine ingredients in a container and refrigerate overnight to pickle.
  • 3
    For pineapple dipping sauce, cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until nut brown (3 minutes), then cool. Blend remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth, then gradually pour in brown butter until emulsified. Season to taste.
  • 4
    Melt half the butter in a frying pan over high heat, add half the beef and stir-fry until browned (4-5 minutes). Wipe out pan and repeat with remaining butter and beef.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, soak vermicelli in a large bowl of boiling water until tender (30 seconds). Drain well and cut into 2cm pieces.
  • 6
    Working with 1 wrapper at a time, dip wrapper into a bowl of hot water to soften (20-30 seconds; it may seem dry but it'll continue to soften). Lay flat on a work surface, spoon vermicelli, beef, apple, cucumber, pickled carrot, lettuce, herbs and sprouts along the centre, then leave for a minute for rice paper to absorb water. Fold in ends and roll up tightly. Serve with dipping sauce topped with chilli.

Notes

Mam nem, a fermented anchovy sauce, is available from Vietnamese grocers.