These crispy fried spring rolls are made in the Vietnamese style and served with the traditional accompaniments—tender lettuce, fresh herbs and a sweet yet spicy fish sauce-based sauce called nuoc cham. In lieu of the typical ground pork and mung bean thread noodle filling, this version features rich ground duck.
For the filling: Preheat a 14-inch cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sprinkle the ground duck with salt and pepper, then add to the heated pan. Allow the ground duck to brown all over, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, green cabbage, onions and mushrooms to the same pan. Cook the vegetables down until most of the liquid is removed and the cabbage is a light brown color, about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and fold in the basil, cilantro and mint. Pour the filling onto a sheet tray and allow to cool for 5 minutes at room temp, then refrigerate until completely cool.
Preheat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F.
Place 2 sheets spring roll pastry on a work surface on top of each other with a pointed end facing you. Place 1/3 cup filling in the middle of the spring roll pastry sheet. Dip 1 finger in a small bowl of water and run along the edge of the spring roll pastry sheet. Fold in the sides to meet in the middle over the filling. Fold up the bottom point over the filling, then tuck to tighten the roll and roll the wrapper towards the top point. Place seal-side down on your work surface, then cover with a damp towel and repeat the process until all the springs rolls and filling are gone. Fry, in batches, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on a wire rack-lined sheet tray.
For the nuoc cham: Add the water, sugar, lemon juice, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, chile flakes, garlic and serranos in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
When cool enough to handle, cut each fried spring roll wrapper into thirds on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Build a platter of lettuce cups, bean sprouts, Fresno, peanuts, lime wedges, Thai basil leaves, cilantro leaves and mint leaves. Serve with the nuoc cham.
This recipe has been updated to more accurately recognize its origin or to add cultural context. It may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.
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