Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I usually start with a picture of my finished recipe... but I did something silly when taking pictures of this.  I photographed the "ugly" one with the "best" one... just to show you how much my roll/wrapping technique improved between the first one and the last one!  Oh well.... you get my point, you too will improve.  Don't be disheartened by your first one.

I remember the first time I had Vietnamese Spring Rolls, it was at a work fundraiser, and I thought that maybe the person making it just didn't add enough exciting ingredients.  I know now that they were traditional, but I'd like to have more flavors and crunch in my spring roll.  Here's my first attempt to make these fresh little salad rolls, adding more veggies and changing up the sauce.  Thinking ahead for next time, I might even pre-marinate the prawns for more flavor!

2 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
12 rice paper wrappers
24 large cooked, halved shrimp (peeled and deveined)
8 oz firm tofu, cut into long thin matchsticks.
1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil
1 carrot, shredded or cut into thin matchsticks.
1/3 of an English cucumbers, cut into thin matchsticks
1 cup of bean sprouts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 leaves lettuce, thinly sliced

Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a large saucepan, or stock pot.  (You need something big enough to dip the rice paper wrappers into after the noodles are done cooking!)   Boil the rice vermicelli noodles for approximately 3 minutes or until al dente. Remove noodles with tongs and let drain, retaining the water in the pan. Using the leftover noodle water, quickly dip the rice paper wrappers in the warm water to soften.

Get your work area completely prepped with all your matchstick veggies and pre-sliced prawns.

Using a large cutting board, Lay the wrapper flat and fill across the center with 2 shrimp halves (or tofu), cilantro, mint and basil, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, vermicelli, and lettuce. Fold the wrapper inward on the sides and tightly roll. 

This can be kind of tricky… don’t be freaked out if your first couple are messy, they still taste great!   Repeat until all of your wrappers are filled.
These keep very well, but do tend to stick to each other, you might want to layer them between wax paper if you make a bunch ahead of time. These were great for lunches for 2 days after I made them.

Dipping Sauces:
My Favorite sauce-
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp chili garlic paste
1-2 drops of sesame oil.
Mix and serve with spring rolls.

This is the most typical dipping Sauce… but it is not my favorite. 
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white sugar

In a small bowl, mix altogether.  Serve with the fresh spring rolls.


  1. An Asian friend of mine told me that they use two rice papers - so they don't tear so easily. I've experimented with different mixtures of Asian salad dressings to use for the dipping sauce. I love these.