Recipe: Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Wanna share spring roll recipe I got from Go Asia Travel, a tour company from Vietnam. It's easy to make and tastes good, you should try!

Here I copy-paste from an email they sent to me. Enjoy!

Let's roll the FRESH one first...
This is always a crowd pleaser, even picky eaters love these salad-like rolls and the wonderful fish sauce that goes with them. You can leave out the shrimp for a nice vegetarian option. These rolls can be prepared a few hours in advance, covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap and kept at room temperature until needed.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly 
  • 1 small chili pepper, sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 1/4 cup water

Prepare Nuoc Cham
Combine garlic, sugar, lime juice, water, vinegar, and fish sauce. Stir to blend. Add chili rounds (to taste). Keep at room temperature for 1/2 hour before serving. 

Ingredients Fresh Spring Rolls

  • 4 ounces thin rice vermicelli 
  • 16 raw medium shrimps, shelled 
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or thinly cut 
  • 2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 16 rice paper (banh trang) 
  • 8 large red leaf or Boston lettuce leaves, thick stem ends removed and cut in half 
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts 
  • 1 cup mint leaves, washed and drained 
  • 2 eggs omelet cut thinly 
  • 1 ounce cold cut ham 

Use your fantasy and you can cut everything what's eatable for the filling.

How to Prepare Fresh Spring Rolls 
In a medium saucepan, bring several cups of water to boil. Add vermicelli and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Boil the shrimp for 3 minutes, then refresh in cold water. Cut lengthwise in half, then set aside. 

How to Assembly 

  • Lay out the spring roll ingredients before beginning to assemble the rolls. 
  • Lay one piece of lettuce over the bottom of the rice paper. Add 1 tablespoon of noodles, 1 tablespoon carrot, bean sprouts and several mint leaves. Roll the paper halfway. Fold both sides of the paper over the filling. Lay 2 shrimp halves, cut side down, along the crease. Place several cilantro leaves above the shrimp. Keep rolling the paper into a cylinder to seal. 
  • Place the rolls, seam side down, on a plate and cover with a damp towel so they will stay moist. Slice each roll in half on a bias. 
  • Serve rolls with the Nouc Cham sauce, preferably in individual dipping bowls. The rolls are dipped into the sauce and eaten out of hand. 

Let's roll the FRIED one now...
The rice paper in Vietnam is elastic, making the roll-up very easy. Second, the fillings vary with inclusion of minced pork, prawn meat, crab meat, spring onions, eggs, glass noodles, wooden ear mushroom and different vegetables. I learned the Northern style from my grandmother and we use julienne carrot and kohlrabi or bean sprout, which give the spring roll the sweetness and freshness of veggies. These lovely rolls are served with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham) and lots of fresh herbs on the side, for example lettuce, mint, bean sprouts, etc. I have included below the recipe for Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls. I admit I never measure the exact quantity when making these rolls and the dipping sauce. Everything is done by the eye and it a bit different than we showed in our cooking demonstration, but it is really not hard to get it right. There is a trick to make the skin crispy longer after frying, add a few drops lemon/lime juice or vinegar to the water used to soften the rice wrapper. For the filling, feel free to try different things for example using shredded Chinese cabbage instead of kohlrabi.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

  • There is a general rule of thumb, use one part of fish sauce (Vietnamese style preferred) and three parts of mineral water  
  • Slowly add sugar, whisk to dissolve 
  • The sugar needed to sweeten the sauce depends on the fish sauce that you use.  
  • Then, slowly add vinegar or lemon/lime juice (teaspoon by teaspoon) until you have a balanced sauce - not too salty nor too sweet not too sour  
  • Adjust with more sugar and water if needed. All the tastes should be in balance.
  • Add some minced garlic, carrot and a few slice of red chili to finish up

Ingredients Fried Spring Rolls 

  • 500 g minced pork or chicken 
  • 100 g prawn meat, minced 
  • 100 g crab meat, minced 
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and julienne 
  • 1/2 large kohlrabi, peeled and julienne 
  • one or two handful of bean sprouts or shredded Chinese cabbage 
  • 1-2 spring onion, chopped thinly 
  • 1 small bundle of glass noodles, soaked in warm water for 1 min, then cut into 1,5 cm length 
  • 1-2 big wooden ear funguses, soaked in hot water until soft, then slice into thin strips 
  • 1 egg 
  • Fish sauce, salt and some sugar and ground white pepper to taste

How to Prepare Fried Spring Rolls  

  • In a medium saucepan, bring several cups of water to boil. Add vermicelli and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Mix everything (except the rice paper wrapper, of course!) together; let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes. 
  • To roll: prepare some warm water with a few drops of lemon/lime/vinegar. Dip each wrapper into the warm water until soft but not soggy, or wet a towel and lay the rice paper on it Put the filling at the center of the wrapper, fold two sides. Starting at the bottom, roll up tightly. Be careful not to break the wrapper. Moisten the end edge with a little beaten egg or water if necessary to secure the roll. 
  • Heat oil in a large wok or deep-fryer, fry the rolls until golden and cooked. Take care not to burn or under-cook. When deep-frying, do not overheat the oil otherwise the rolls will be burned outside. 
  • Serve with Dipping Sauce and fresh herbs like lettuce, bean sprouts, mint, etc

Bon appétit!


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