Let’s Roll Some Spring Rolls

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Popular in Vietnam as a common appetizer dish, Vietnamese Spring Rolls typically consist of pork, prawn (shrimp), vegetables, herbs and bun (rice noodles or vermicelli). During the summer season, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are popular, but these can also be served fried as well. The Vietnamese love to use fresh herbs so for this dish, we’re going to be using a generous helping of mint, cilantro and basil! I have been lucky to have savored traditional and other variations, such as fried catfish and dill spring rolls in Vietnam, and have learned how to prepare them from scratch from a famous Vietnamese chef. catfish-dill-spring-roll cooking-class-vietnam We’re going to make the traditional fresh spring roll, Nước Mắm, minus the pork. I’m omitting the pork as I’m not a big fan of boiled pork and I don’t think it adds much to the taste and texture. I’m also going to add an extra component to this dish. It’d give a little bit of a twist to the traditional summer Vietnamese appetizer dish, add some creaminess and a little more texture. This recipe makes approximately 8 spring rolls Ingredients:
  • 24 pieces of cooked shrimp, sliced in half
  • Rice noodles (vermicelli or Bún)
  • 8 Rice wrappers
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, medium chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, medium chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil, medium chopped
  • 1 head of lettuce or approximately 8 lettuce leaves, halved (red or regular, not iceberg)
Traditional Sauce for Dipping – Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Nước Mắm or Nước Chấm): learn to pronounce Nước Mắm
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic (chopped)
  • Optional: Add a sprinkle of fresh red chili (thinly sliced) for added heat
Spicy Soy Sauce for Dipping (if you like it spicy!)
  • 2 ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Sambal Olek (Ground fresh chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
Tricia’s Twist (can be used as an add-on ingredient):
  • 1 avocado, chop into large cubes
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions: Stir fry garlic in olive or canola oil, add mushrooms, season accordingly. Add avocado and chicken broth. Set aside. Preparation:
  1. Boil water in a pot. Once boiling point is reached, remove from stove. Soak vermicelli in hot water for 3-5 mins until al dente and drain. Set aside, in a bowl.
  2. Wash herbs – cilantro, basil and mint leaves and chop (medium chopped)
  3. Julienne cucumbers and carrots (thin long strips – approx. ⅛ x ⅛ x 1 to 2 in long), you may want your carrots slightly thinner than your cucumbers
  4. Boil shrimp or used cooked shrimp, slice into halves horizontally
  5. Mix all ingredients for dipping sauce, set aside dipping sauce(s)
  6. You are now ready to roll your spring rolls!
To wrap or roll your spring roll:
  1. Fill a large bowl with warm water, dip rice wrapper in hot water to soften, remove immediately once submerged in water. Do not leave wrapper submerged for more than 3 seconds, that will cause rice wrapper to get too soggy and make it harder to roll
  2. Lay moistened rice paper wrapper on a plate or large chopping board
  3. Add 6 pieces of shrimp halves, then add vermicelli, pile on generous helpings of herbs (cilantro, basil and mint) to give it a nice fresh taste.
  4. Lay about 3-4 thin slices of cucumber, 3-4 thin slices of julienned carrots and lastly, add the lettuce leaf on top. Make sure cucumber and carrots are aligned and horizontal. Leave about 1 inch from edge of rice paper wrapper.
  5. Fold bottom of wrapper to cover all the ingredients, tuck fold in, roll approximately 1 round, tuck in the left and right sides and finish rolling.
  6. Repeat the process and wrap as many spring rolls as the ingredients will allow. You should be able to get approximately 8 rolls, if not more.
  7. For presentation, you can slice your spring rolls into halves and serve.
  8. Serve with dipping sauce(s) of your choice. Alternatively, you can also use satay sauce or a soy miso dressing for dipping.
  • If you prefer fried Vietnamese rolls, you can certainly pan fry or deep fry your fresh spring rolls and they should come out nice and crispy!
  • If you’re more adventurous, you can get creative and add your favorite ingredients or change up the portions. Mix and match and try it out! Here’s some ideas:
    1. Bean sprouts – sprouts add a crunchy texture. Boil them briefly, you can lightly salt your bean sprouts
    2. Hot sauce or fresh red chili – add a bold flavor to turn up the heat
    3. Barbecued or grilled meat or vegetables – thin slices of grilled and seasoned beef, pork, chicken or vegetables (yum!)

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