Nem Nuong Wrapped in Rice Paper (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patty)

I saw this dish on TV one day and searched for the recipe.  It looked so fresh so I gave it a try.  This is the original recipe but I have adjusted it according to my preference.  Just a warning though, the fish sauce for me is overpowering.  You can skip it and replace it with salt instead.

This dish has a lot of fresh herbs and has minimal use of oil which is typical of Vietnamese dishes. Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the most healthiest cuisines in the world.

Here is a run down of the ingredients in this dish with their nutritional benefits.

shrimp – good source of selenium

spring onions – a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese

garlic – improve your iron metabolism and good source of selenium, has the  ability to lower blood pressure

perilla leaves – prevents food poisoning, anti-inflammatory effects and are said to promote healthier cholesterol levels

mint – good for the treatment of digestive problems

cucumbers – Cucumbers have vitamins A and C, which are both powerful antioxidants. Cucumbers also contain the minerals potassium

garlic chives – contain high amounts of Vitamin C and carotene, and are a good source of calcium. They also contain vitamin B1 and B


1 1/2 cups ground pork
1 1/2 cups fish  or shrimps paste (any fish or shrimp ground/pounded to a paste)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (adjust it to your liking, substitute – salt)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 spring onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 sheets rice paper
1 bunch fresh perilla leaf, optional
1 bunch fresh mint, picked
1 cucumber, halved, deseeded and finely sliced lengthwise
3 star fruit, optional
bunch fresh garlic chives, sliced into 2-inch lengths

Special equipment: 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes

Hoisin Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts
1 red chile, diced


Preheat a grill to medium heat.
For the Hoisin Dipping Sauce
In a saucepan combine the hoisin sauce and the white vinegar, put over medium heat and then add the milk, and stir through. Continue to stir just before the boiling point is reached, then allow the mixture to cool. Sprinkle the dipping sauce with crushed peanuts and diced chile. Set aside.Using a mortar and pestle combine the pork and fish paste. Mince and pound to a fine smooth paste.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the fish sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Now add the pork and fish paste to the seasoning, then add the spring onions, garlic, and vegetable oil and mix to combine.

Knead the paste and pound handfuls of it in the bowl until the paste reaches an elastic consistency.

Form a sausage shape from the paste and form it around the top 2/3 of a skewer. Repeat this process with all the pork mixture.

Cook the pork skewers on the grill for 8 minutes turning every 2 minutes.

Place the rice paper on a work surface and layer with the mixed herbs, cucumber, star fruit, and garlic chives. Remove the cooked pork  mixture from the skewers by gently rotating. Place the pork on the layered greens, and roll up the rice paper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Dip the wraps into the reserved hoisin dipping sauce.

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