Neighborhood Kitchens

Simply Khmer's Nam Chow

These light and easy spring rolls are very popular appetizers at Simply Khmer.


3 cups of water
2 tsp. garlic oil infused with soybean oil
10 rice papers
5 leaves of fresh lettuce
1 cup beansprouts
1 cucumber, chopped into strips
2 lb rice noodles
20 basil leaves
20 mint leaves
1 whole chicken breast (or a similar quantity of another type of meat)
5 cooked shrimp (cook in hot boiling water for about 3 minutes, cut pieces in a half along spine)
Dipping sauce (optional)
Start off by boiling 3 cups of water (in preparation for rice paper). Rub a generous amount of garlic-soybean oil over a plate, to prevent the rice paper from sticking to the plate. Soak rice paper in warm water by holding paper and rotating it in the warm water, until wet throughout.  Stretch your damp rice paper over a plate, and lay it flat.  Beware not to soak the rice paper too long or it will turn soggy.
Place a leaf of lettuce over half of rice paper, and layer bean sprouts over the lettuce. Layer 3 strips of cucumber over the lettuce-bean sprout bed.  Place 1-2 basil leaves, 1-2 mint leaves on top of cucumber. Press about 1 ounce of rice noodles across the basil and mint leaves. If using chicken, pull meat apart and place on top of rice noodles.
Begin to roll the spring roll tightly, but without ripping the rice paper. As you roll, tuck the corner pieces over the top of the roll, and continue. Roll once (until the top edge touches the middle of the paper).  Place shrimp on top of the roll, and cover with remaining rice paper. Press firmly to close the roll.
Dip completed roll into dipping sauce of your choice. Fresh spring roll sauce is available in many Asian markets.

Serves: 5 (2 rolls per person)


Sam Neang and Denise Ban are the chefs and owners of Simply Khmer, a Cambodian restaurant in Lowell, Mass. They shared this recipe with us when they were featured as our guests on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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