I have to share my recent food passion… Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Wow, are they good! I stumbled across the recipe online, but Mr. Muse and I got to try them at an unassuming little Vietnamese restaurant in Monterey, California on a recent mini-vacation. We shared a plate of spring rolls and bowl of Pho (another new yummy discovery).
Now don’t confuse spring rolls with egg rolls. There is a world of difference. Spring rolls are like a salad wrapped in a rice paper wrapper… and never fried (okay, they can be fried, but why mess with perfection). Chowhound describes them this way:
These light and healthy Vietnamese-influenced summer rolls are filled with cooked shrimp, rice noodles, and plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables for flavor and crunch. Once your ingredients are prepped, the rolling fun begins as sheets of rice paper are softened in water and used for the wrappers. Dipped in a spicy peanut sauce, these rolls are a great hot-weather appetizer or light lunch.
Speaking of Chowhound, make sure to look at their step-by-step directions with photos like the one below.
Let’s Start with the Rice Wapper Paper
Unlike a Chinese egg roll, Vietnamese spring roll uses a paper-thin wrapper made from rice. They come dry and to soften them up to use they must be soaked in hot water for a few seconds. Yes, I said seconds.
The problem is, they are usually hard to find. Sometimes you can find them at Oriental markets. And if you live in big cities, you might find them in supermarkets. Or not. Muse Ranch in on the outer edges of Los Angles County. That’s over 10 million people so you would think I could find then around here. Instead, I head over to Amazon and order them for there. It’s so, so easy and with Amazon Prime, I get my order in two days. I order Three Ladies Brand rice paper wraps (the 3-pack and they last for a long time. BTW).
What Can You Put Into your Spring Rolls?
Well, almost. Usually, some type of pre-cooked meat or shellfish (such as shrimp) is used, along with some thinly sliced vegetables and some type of filler such as rice noodles or plain rice. All that goodness is then folded into rice paper wraps. Here are XXX recipes that will have you smacking your lips.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Gỏi cuốn)
Vegan Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls
Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls
Nem Nuong Cuon Spring Rolls with Grilled Pork Patties
Lemongrass Beef with Rice Paper
Dipping Sauces Take These Summer Rolls Over the Top
There seem to be two types of sauces people like to dip their Vietnamese spring roll into.
- Peanut Sauce
- Fish Sauce
They’re both great, but my favorite (as is Mr. Muse’s) is the fish sauce. It seems to be a bit more traditional. One blogger I read said that every Vietnamese family had their own version of the sauce. The base of the sauce is made from a bottled fish sauce and a limeade. Then additional ingredients such as garlic, red peppers, and ginger can be added (I like all three). Just like the rice wrappers, the fish sauce can be hard to find. That’s why I usually order my fron Amazon, as well. Red Boat Fish Sauce is a favorite of mine and I like that Amazon has the big 17-ounce bottle.
Hungry Huy has one of the best fish sauce recipes I found.
Vietnamese Fish Sauce Recipe (Nước Chấm)
If peanuts are more your taste, check out this spicy peanut sauce dip.
Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
It’s a Wrap for These Spring Rolls
As yo can imagine, wrapping up the food in that thin sheet of rice paper is the hardest part of the job. I’m still trying to master that, but even when they’re a little loose and falling apart, the spring rolls still taste wonderful. If you want to see how it’s done, take a look at this video:
I hope all these Vietnamese spring roll recipes and tips inspires you… I know they are making me hungry again 😉
See ya all soon,