Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

 I am upholding one of my goals on the summer bucket list by making a new recipe per week. It has been a great fun, and definitely a learning experience. I am the one who loves to cook, to spend time in the kitchen, to use my hands, and to serve it to people. I enjoy seeing people enjoy what I have created for them. Well, I also really like eating part! Yum Yum.

This appetizer is really easy to make. It is a bit time consuming, and does require patience along with practice! It is worth making for in the end though! 

I wanted to make something crispy, and light to snack on over Memorial Day weekend. I thought about that time when I made egg rolls, which was taught by one of my wonderful friends, Sunny, and she had a vast knowledge of making Asian cuisine. 

 I knew that Vietnamese spring rolls was the ticket! I went out, and bought all ingredients. Let me tell you, the first attempt was a BUST. Why? Because I purchased wrong type of wrapper. 

This one is wrong. Do not buy that one. As I've learned, this one was better suited for frying, and not for spring rolls. It comes in tan color, and is already pliable. The correct one would be this:

Okay? Got it? Good! The second time I made this--it was a success! 


Rice sticks is so easy to make. Just boil the water, pour it in the microwave-safe bowl over
the hard rice sticks (noodles), and let it soak for 3 minutes or until it's soft.
Drain. Set aside. 

I mixed a bunch of carrot, bean sprout, purple cabbage, cilantro, mint , & cabbage
in a bowl. I cheated a bit by buying a colesaw salad mix because I did not want to spend
my time chopping, and wanted a fast route! It worked as good! Bean sprout, and carrot match sticks
were bought separately.

*You can toss in shrimp, fruit such as chopped mango, strawberries, or even shredded
chicken. Your choice. I went with vegetarian option omitting meat*

The spring roll wrapper will be hard, and easily breakable. So be careful
with handling it! 

Make sure the water bowl is really large enough to accomodate the wrapper.
I had to learn it in a hard way by using smaller bowl, and breaking the wrapper in the process.
Larger bowl = Better result.
The water should be warm, and let the wrapper soak 15-20 seconds.
If it seems to be taking longer than that then you probably need to
dump the water out, and refill it with warm water. 

The wrapper will turn into jellyfish-like consistency.
Okay, the picture isn't pretty here, so excuse me okay?
What I learned from making spring rolls is that it helps when you hold the tip of edge while
you are soaking the wrapper to avoid it from getting all wrinkled up when you
lay it on the cutting board or flat clean surface.
Dump the content together at the edge.
It is better go with smaller amount than large amount.
In this picture, I added a bit too much. 

Roll it half way. 

Fold the edges onto the rolled part.
Don't worry about adding anything to it.
The edges will stick by themselves.
Make sure you roll it as tight as possible, and also be careful with the
content inside--sometimes the matchstick cabbage or carrot can poke through.

Finish rolling it up, and Ta-Da! You are done.
Again, this was my first spring roll so it did not turn out pretty.

As you can see with some practice, the spring rolls turned out much better looking than my first one!
Practice makes perfect!

Then serve with yummy sauce!


2 oz dried rice sticks or rice vermicelli
6 rice paper wrapper sheets (not egg rolls wrapper)
a large bowl of water to dip rice paper sheets
6 sprigs cilantro
6 sprigs mint
6 leaves lettuce, rib/stem removed (I like boston lettuce)
Shredded cabbage (purple and green), bean sprouts peeled and cut into strips,
meat and fruit of your choice should be chopped into bite size 
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
Soak rice sticks in boiling water for about 3 minutes or till soft. Drain well.
Dip the rice paper sheets in water, making sure all sides are wet. Shake off excess water. Place on a clean work surface. Place a sprig each of cilantro and mint in the front 1/3rds of the rice paper sheet. Then place lettuce leaf, a little rice noodles, carrot, and mango slices. Fold and roll the summer roll – see photos above for details on how to roll vietnamese summer roll.
Serve immediately with vegetarian vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe below). To store, put rolls on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel. Then cover plate completely with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.


makes little less than 1 cup
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
Red pepper flakes or chopped fresh chili to taste
Whisk everything together till the sugar dissolves.