I miss Vietnamese food so much. I used to eat it practically every weekend before my histamine intolerance diagnosis, even, amusingly, when I was living in Bangkok. Thai food was just way to spicy for me, and I suspect the MSG was wreaking havoc on my insides.
Though I do love the lightness of Vietnamese summer rolls (ie un-fried spring rolls), I was really in the mood for something a little naughty. It had just been one of those weeks you know? So I had a go at re-imagining my favourite Vietnamese pork spring rolls. Except without mushrooms (histamine), fish sauce (histamine, common sense) and a bunch of other stuff that makes me drool.
My usual high nutrient spin sent me down the Indian path rather than Vietnamese. I really wasn’t sure these would work out.
Guess what? Having had these little fingers of messy joy, I’m now drooling over making them again. Am I allowed to say that about something I made myself?? It seems wrong somehow.
The tamarind and curry leaves (the chutney still tastes great without either!) gave the shallots an incredibly rich depth of flavour, the mung bean noodles gave the lamb mince a lovely moistness and it was all topped off with the satisfaction of crunching into a healthily baked crust.
Make these a little smaller and they’re a perfect party finger food that no guest will guess is a (low histamine, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory) health food.
They’ll also taste great stuffed with any lovely veggies of your choosing.
Though already low oxalate (if you don’t have a lot of other oxalates that day), you can go lower by omitting the noodles. I’m watching my oxalates and I was totally fine with this.
Here’s the high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory breakdown (see the Anti-cookbook for a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods):
Shallots are high in histamine lowering quercetin and as such are an antihistamine food . They also possess significant cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory properties .
Curry leaves are as effective at reducing histamine induced inflammation as Diclofenac (one of the world’s most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatories)  and have been shown to inhibit mast cell degranulation .
Fenugreek has been shown to be effective in reducing histamine and serotonin induced inflammation .
Tamarind leaves possess mast cell stabilising properties, but the fruit is fermented, which may be problematic for some .
Nigella sativa is a potent H1 and H2 receptor antagonist (like claritin and zantac for example) .
Basil (all varieties) has been shown to exhibit H1 and H2 receptor antagonism and is highly anti-inflammatory .
Please do remember that even antihistaminic foods can cause serious reactions, including anaphylaxis. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before adding new foods to your diet.
Antihistamine Rich (baked) Lamb Spring Rolls w/Tamarind Chutney
Prep Time: 10mins| Cook Time: 20mins | Servings: 2-4 | Difficulty: Easy
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Fresh red chili, to taste
Fenugreek seeds, to taste
1/2 tsp nigella sativa seeds (or to taste)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
4 curry leaves (optional)
Oil (I use olive)
2 cups cubed lamb
1 large shallot/medium onion
1/2 medium fennel
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup mung bean, green bean, rice or your choice of noodles, boiled and drained
Spring roll rice paper
Pre-heat your oven to 160C/320F.
Dilute the tamarind paste in a spoon of water. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a small to medium baking dish and drizzle with some oil.
Bake for 20-30 minutes till soft. Remove the curry leaves and serve with spring rolls.
Pre-heat oven to 180C/360F.
Toss all the spring roll ingredients but the rice paper into a food processor. Power till everything mixes up into a ball.
Heat a little oil in a pan and sauté the spring roll mix till almost cooked through.
In a kettle heat up some water till almost boiled. Pour into a shallow plate and then once cool enough (but not cold!) place a rice paper in it till soaked through but not mushy. Carefully withdraw from the water and flip over. This might take a little practice…
Remove and place on a dry surface. In the middle of the roll lay down some arugula/rocket, a couple of pieces of basil and coriander, and some noodles. Top with some lamb and then finish off with a not too generous spoon of chutney.
Fold the upper and lower parts of the roll over, then roll horizontally to seal up.
Brush with a little shallot oil, and bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with the rest of the chutney.
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