I am happy to say that there are lots of great Vietnamese restaurants here in the U.S. When we go to Vietnamese restaurants, there are only two things that we eat most of the time. Pho noodles and the Vietnamese spring rolls. I told my hubby if it didn’t seem right if I didn’t learn how to make the spring rolls. After all, I like them so much. My mom loves them too.
The term spring roll and summer roll are used interchangeably by most people. You may mistakenly thinking that spring roll is always fried. The Chinese version of spring roll or egg roll are fried. Vietnamese spring roll isn’t fried and like other spring rolls, it is not hard to make too. I think the main bulk of the work was preparing the ingredients (cutting and chopping..as usual). Working with the delicate rice paper wasn’t as difficult as I thought either. The thin transparent wrap is surprisingly resilient (under my not-so-gentle hands). I like when you bite into the spring roll, you taste the shrimp, the herbs, especially the mints, the sourness from the pickled carrot, slightly crunchy from the bean sprouts. Some included meat like pork in the spring roll or summer roll too. Then you dip it into the sauce, that is it! This dish is fun to serve as appetizers or as part of a meal.
- 12 large unpeeled and undeveined shrimp, fresh or frozen
- 8- 10 oz dried rice vermicelli, soaked in arm water for 20 minutes and drained
- 12 rice papers (about 8 inches in diameter)
- 2 cups bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained
- ¾ cup grated carrot tossed with 1 tsp sugar and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ cup packed mint leaves
- 30 chives, or substitute with greens from 6 to 8 scallions, cut lengthwise into slivers
- ½ cup packed coriander leaves
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar or more if you like it sweeter
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 bird chile, minced
- 1tbsp chopped roasted peanuts (optional)
- Several shreds of carrot (optional)
- Mix all the ingredients for dipping sauce together and stir until the sugar dissolves. can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1week max
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the shrimp (unpeeled and undeveined), bring back to a boil, and cook just until pink and firm to the touch, 1 to 3 minutes. Lift out immediately with tongs or chopsticks and transfer to a plate to cool
- Bring the water back to a boil. Drop in the soaked vermicelli, cook for 2 minutes, or until soft, and drain. Refresh with cold water, drain, and set aside
- Remove the shrimp shells, devein, and cut the shrimp lengthwise in half down the back. Set aside
- Place a large bowl of warm water by your work area. Moisten a tea towel or cotton cloth thoroughly with water and lay it flat on the work surface. Working with 1 rice paper at a time, immerse the rice paper in the water. It will soften in less than 30 seconds. Lift it out and place it flat on the wet cloth
- Place about 1 Tbsp of noodles on it, spreading them in a line across the wrapper about ⅓ of the way from the bottom edge. Lay about 1 Tbsp bean sprouts and a heaping teaspoon carrot salad along the line of noodles and then wrap, then place 2 shrimp halves along the length of the roll. Fold over the ends to seal in the filling, then roll up another half-turn. Place 2 chives or a sliver or two of scallion along the crease, letting one end stick out past the end of the roll. Place several coriander leaves along the crease, then finish rolling up. Moisten the edge with water and set on a plate, seam side down
- Cover with a damp cloth and with plastic wrap, then repeat with the remaining rolls. Serve immediately, or set aside for up to 2 hours, covered with the damp cloth and plastic wrap to prevent the wrappers from drying out. Serve on a platter or on individual plates, whole or cut crosswise in half
- Use a small spoon to drizzle on the sauce as you eat mouthful by mouthful :)
Geez, I didn’t even use the spoon anymore, just dived in..
Another variety that I made was by using thinly sliced beef that had been marinated in soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce and then stir-fried, instead of prawns or you can include both.