300g pumpkin (I used butternut), peeled
300g daikon, peeled
10g flaky sea salt
250ml rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons chilli flakes
1 bundle mung bean vermicelli (approx. 50g)
3 dried shiitake
450g pork mince
250g pumpkin (butternut or crown), peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3cm-piece ginger, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 packet frozen spring roll wrappers, defrosted
1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon water
vegetable oil for frying
zest of 1 lime plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (optional)
2 bundles mung bean vermicelli (approx. 100g)
1 bunch kale leaves, finely shredded
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 packet (about 200g) bean sprouts
¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
fresh herbs for garnishing, such as Vietnamese mint, Thai basil and coriander

This year’s terrible summer had me reaching for more wintery greens as supplies of lettuces diminished and I find that robust leaves such as kale hold their own in Vietnamese-style bun cha salads.

To make all the components here does require a little bit of planning and effort, but it also means that a second version of the meal is fast to prepare. The pickle should last for at least three weeks, and I prefer it after it has sat for at least a week.

The recipe makes about 20 spring rolls – I usually allow 2-3 per person for a meal and the rest can be frozen. While rice paper wrappers are more commonly used for spring rolls (and you could use these instead), they don’t freeze so well.

If making spring rolls seems like too much fuss, consider making small patties with the filling and frying – the pork and vermicelli become delightfully crispy.

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2.Cut the pumpkin and daikon into matchsticks (or into thin ribbons if you prefer), put into a bowl with the salt and massage lightly.
3.Put into a large (at least 800ml capacity) sterilised jar.
4.Heat the rice wine vinegar, sugar, chilli flakes and 250ml water until the sugar dissolves.
5.Pour the syrup over the vegetables. Cover and cool. Refrigerate overnight before using.
6.The pickles will keep refrigerated for at least 3 weeks.
8.Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes to soften, drain well, then cut into smaller pieces.
9.Soak the shiitake in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and squeeze dry (reserve the liquid for another use).
10.Remove and discard the stems, thinly slice the caps.
11.Put the vermicelli in a bowl with the pork mince, shiitake, pumpkin, garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper and mix well.
12.With one corner of the spring roll wrapper facing towards you, put a spoonful (approx. 50g) of filling on the wrapper about 5cm from the corner.
13.Roll the corner over the filling, then fold in the sides, and finish rolling up using the cornflour slurry to seal the edge.
14.These are best cooked straight after making but you can freeze them on a tray lined with baking paper then put into a sealed bag for storage. Cook from frozen, allowing a few more minutes cooking time.
15.Heat the oil to 180°C in a wok or pan, add the spring rolls in batches and cook until golden, 6-8 minutes, turning halfway.
16.Drain on paper towels. Cool slightly before slicing and putting on top of the salad.
17.You can bake these, though they won’t be as golden. To bake, put on a rack over a baking tray and spray with oil all over. Bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes or slightly longer if frozen.
19.Combine the lime zest and juice, sugar and 2 tablespoons warm water to dissolve the sugar.
20.Add the garlic, fish sauce and chillies and check the taste, adjusting with extra sugar or fish sauce and, if necessary, add the rice wine vinegar to balance the sour and sweet flavours.
22.Soak the vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes to soften, drain, then cut into smaller pieces.
23.Massage the kale with the sea salt to soften the leaves and set aside for 10 minutes.
24.Combine with the vermicelli, bean sprouts and dressing.
25.To assemble, put the salad into bowls, top with the pickle, some sliced spring rolls, peanuts and herbs.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jess Hemmings