Vietnamese Spring Rolls – its all about that peanut sauce. Growing up in California, I’ve eaten my fair share of spring rolls. But when I visited Vietnam a few weeks ago, it tasted so much better!
Initially, I couldn’t figure out why. Was it simply the fact that I was abroad and traveling that made it so tasty? Well not exactly. There were specific flavors that made the rolls taste so light and fresh. I later learned (during my cooking classes) that this was from the eclectic mix of local Vietnamese herbs. It was my first time trying local Vietnamese herbs – like Sawtooth Coriander (ngo gai), cinnamon basil and cockscomb mint (Kinh Giới).
When I got back to Korea, I went on a mission to find some of these Vietnamese herbs. But I failed – couldn’t get any! As I mentioned in the video, I even resorted to visiting a Pho shop to get my hands on cilantro in Korea!
Luckily, the key flavor variable with Vietnamese spring rolls is the peanut hoisin dipping sauce. This sauce uses two main ingredients: hoisin sauce and peanut butter. Together, they work magically.
The recipe is enough for 2-3 people. Try it out with friends or family – and delegate some of the prep work!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- Vietnamese Rice Paper - 6-8
- Vermicelli Noodles - 1 portion
- Shrimp - 10-15
- Pork - 100 grams
- Lettuce - 6-8 pieces
- Carrot - Finger-length piece
- Cucumber - Finger-length piece
- Mungbean Sprouts - Handful of
- Mint - Handful of
- Cilantro - Handful of
- Basil - Handful of
- Chives - 2 stalks of
- Vegetable oil - 1 Tablespoon
- Minced garlic - 2 teaspoon
- Hoisin sauce - 4 Tablespoon
- Peanut butter - 2 Tablespoon
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Water - 1/3 cup
- Put a pot on low heat. (Yes, keep it on a low heat!) Add oil in. Then add minced garlic in.
- Once garlic starts to sizzle in the oil and turns golden, add in then hoisin sauce. Then the peanut butter. Then finally the sugar and water. Mix it around the pot and let it reduce.
- Reduce until the texture becomes something like dijon mustard or ranch. Set aside and let it cool down.
- Cut cucumber and carrot into length of your pointer finger. Then cut cucumber into thin rectangular slices. Julienne the carrot into thin long strips. Then cut the chives to the size of your hand. Then give the lettuce and mungbean sprouts a good wash under running water. Let them dry out.
- Take out the mint, cilantro and basil and assemble onto a plate.
- Bring pot of water to boil. Put shrimp in and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- Bring pot of water back up to boil again. Put in pork and cook through until there is no more pink left. Strain pork and set aside.
- Take heads and legs off shrimp. Use your knife to cut along the backside of the shrimp and devein it. Then cut the shrimp in half and separate the meat from the shell.
- For the pork, simply cut it into thin pieces.
- Prep vermicelli noodles according to the package. If the instructions are in a foreign language, follow these steps: Grab a handful of noodles from the package. Fully submerge the dry noodles in a large bowl with cold water. Let the noodles sit in the water and re-hydrate for at least 20 minutes.
- Then bring a pot to boil. Blanche the noodles for 20-30 seconds. Test to see that they are soft and chewy. If they are, drain the water and set aside. (Note: After draining, if the noodles sit out for too long, they will get sticky and dry. Simply give them a rinse under water and it will make them easy to handle again)
- Fill a large frying pan with cold water. Set it aside on your table - we will dip our rice paper in it. Then take out a wooden cutting board. Dip your finger in the water and gently rub some water across the wooden board. This will keep the rice paper from sticking to the board
- Take one rice paper and fully dip it into the frying pan with the water. Then [lace the rice paper onto the cutting board. Time to fill the roll: Start with a lettuce piece - place that one the wrap. Then add the noodles on top. Then add all the other vegetables. Next add a few pieces of pork next to it. Then a row of shrimp.
- Start rolling - maybe one full turn. Then fold in the sides and do one more roll. Add in a few piece of chives and finish the roll. Repeat until you run out of ingredients. Dip in peanut sauce and enjoy!
- Don't pack it like a burrito! If you have trouble rolling, just add less 😉
- If you get stuck, just re-watch the video below