When I was younger, I lived in Japan and attended an international school with pupils from all over the world. In my class, there were Japanese girls, a couple of Brits and Aussies, a Nigerian, a girl from Swaziland, a Colombian and so on. Every year we had a fair called the Festival of Nations, with booths selling food from all over the world, games and performances. My best friend was from Vietnam and one year, I remember spending days at her house while her mum and a group of friends' mums rolled hundreds of these spring rolls to sell as we greedily hovered in the kitchen trying to secret some away to upstairs. They're wonderfully fresh, easy to make and super healthy, plus the fillings can be adapted to whatever you have on hand and I think they would make a lovely light supper for the spring weather we're having at the moment.
Spring roll rice papers, which you can find at Oriental supermarkets
Vermicelli or mung bean noodles
Handfuls of mint, coriander and Thai basil
Lettuce - iceberg or round work well
Protein - cooked prawns, roast pork, shredded chicken or tofu
You can also add:
Shredded vegetables like carrot, courgette, cucumber
First, boil the kettle and cook your noodles according to the packet instructions (usually about 10 minutes or so) until they're soft. Strain and add a little lime juice to stop them sticking together.
Next, prep all your ingredients and lay them out on a plate. If you have people over, it can be fun to make your own spring rolls at the table so everyone can put whatever they like in them.
The wrappers come dried and are quite brittle, so be careful with them. They need to be soaked in hot water for around 20 seconds each before they become malleable. Use a shallow dish - a roasting tray or saucepan will do. I would suggest holding onto the very edge while you dip it in the water so as not to lose it and then repeat while holding onto the other edge. Take the paper out of the water and lay flat on your plate. Assemble your ingredients in the middle - you want to use less than you think or they won't stay together. Roll like a burrito, folding in the ends and turning it over on itself. It can be a little tenuous rolling spring roll after spring roll - I suggest rolling one and eating it straight away while it's fresh! They are best eaten immediately, though, and won't taste good after more then a few hours, as the wrapper starts to dry out.