Cool, refreshing and healthy! Vietnamese Spring Rolls are easier to make than you think. Choose between ginger-soy sauce or hoisin-peanut sauces dip or both!
I have been dying to try to make these Vietnamese Spring Rolls for a long time. However, I was a bit skeptic because they seem difficult to make especially with the delicate-looking rice paper wrapper to work with. But I was totally wrong. They were not that hard to do after all.
The first time I had these was in this quaint Vietnamese restaurant next to the building where I used to work. That was some years ago, but even now I cannot forget how cool and refreshing they tasted and how healthy I felt just after eating them probably because of all that fresh herbs and vegetable:-). So when I chance upon some rice paper wrappers at my local grocery store, I knew I just have to try making them myself.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls vs. Filipino Spring Rolls
Vietnam and the Philippines are not that far from each other but Vietnamese and Filipino spring rolls are a world apart. Here are some of their characteristics that make each a special dish :
-Vietnamese spring roll contains various vegetables but is notable for its rice noodles and shrimps. Ingredients are, traditionally, julienned-cut.
-Filipino spring rolls, on the other hand, contain meat, usually pork, alongside the vegetables. The meat and vegetables are minced.
Preparation and Cooking
-Vietnamese spring roll: Raw julienned vegetables, alongside the cooked rice noodles and shrimps, are assembled, wrapped and served as is.
-Filipino spring roll: Ingredients are assembled and wrapped raw, then fried.
-Vietnamese spring roll uses a thin and transparent rice paper wrapper which is soaked in warm water to soften.
-Filipino spring roll uses a flour wrapper. This is used in other Filipino delicacies like turon.
How to wrap and roll?
Some people just chop and mix all ingredients together and place some filling on the wrapper then roll it any way they like. But I think it would look nicer to make it a bit orderly.
- First is, pour some warm water in a shallow bowl or deep plate. How big? It should be big enough the whole wrapper can be soaked in it. You could also use 2 wrappers per roll since I did mine with only one, some of them broke after wrapping.
- Dip and soak the rice paper wrapper (1 or 2 at a time) until it becomes soft and jelly-like.
- Lay the soaked rice paper wrapper flat on a plate.
- Next is, line 3-4 halves of shrimps at the bottom third of the wrapper, layer with cucumbers and carrots then some vermicelli noodles and lastly the greens. The trick is not to put too much filling so it will not be too difficult to roll.
- Then tuck the ends inside and roll as tight as you can. That is it!
I usually just make a simple (and healthier) dip made of vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. But my sister-in-law also gave me this Hoisin-Peanut dipping sauce to try just by mixing all below ingredients.:
- 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
I will have to try this one next time.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- 10 pieces rice paper wrapper
- 10 pieces prawns - - shelled and deveined
- 1/2 cucumber - - cut into thin, julienned
- 1 carrot - - cut into thin, julienned
- 1.7 ounces vermicelli noodles - or rice noodles
- 1 bunch of mint - or cilantro/ parsley or basil (or all)
- 10-12 lettuce - or any salad leaves - cut into smaller pieces
- Start with preparing vermicelli or rice noodles by cooking in boiling water as per package instructions.
- Cook shrimps in a pan or skillet by adding 1/2 cup of water, you may add 1 tsp of salt to add a bit of taste. Cover the pan and let it simmer until all shrimps turn pink. Cut each shrimp in half, lengthwise.
- Wrap and roll. Pour some warm water in a shallow bowl or deep plate. Dip and soak the rice paper wrapper (1 or 2 at a time) until it becomes soft and jelly-like. Lay the soak rice paper wrapper flat on a plate. Next is, line 3-4 halves of shrimps at the bottom third of the wrapper, layer with cucumbers and carrots then some vermicelli noodles and lastly the greens. Then tuck the ends inside and roll as tight as you can.
- To make the sauce, just mix all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
This recipe was originally published in November 2014. Updated in October 2019 to include new photos and a little adjustment in the recipe itself.