Guess what’s Vietnamese? Me! And these spring rolls…
I may have consumed around 7,000 of these in my lifetime, but I had never made them on my own before culinary school. I may have been ordered to roll them up by my mother years ago. She has always made these for her business, but my job was always just to eat them.
Vietnamese food is really fresh and healthy. Now I understand how I could be such a piggy my whole childhood but not really look like one.
12 rice papers (Bahn Trang)
4 cups hot water, in a large bowl or half hotel pan
4 large lettuce leaves, cut into strips
4 oz rice sticks (vermicelli rice noodles, rehydrated)
2 cups bean sprouts
15 sprigs (a bunch) of cilantro
12 large shrimp or prawns, boiled, sliced in half lengthwise and de-veined
24 mint leaves
1/2 cup carrot, julienne cut
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
1 1/2 T peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 cup chicken broth (or water)
4 T tomato paste
1/2 T sugar
4 T peanut butter
1/2 hoisin sauce
- Dip rice papers in water until soft (but not mushy)
- Place on flat surface (round ones are self explanatory and square papers should be in front of you like a diamond) and put two shrimp halves a little below the middle, pink side on the paper
- Top shrimp with two mint leaves, a sprig or two of cilantro, shredded lettuce, carrots, rice noodles and bean sprouts. Obviously don’t make it too big (or too small!).
- Fold the two sides in and roll from the bottom up, keeping it compact and tight
- Place the rolls seam side down so that the shrimp are showing. If they are being held in a refrigerator make sure they aren’t touching. As the rice paper dries out it will stick.
- Serve with dipping sauce.
Dipping Sauce Method
- Heat the oil and add garlic, chili paste and tomato paste
- Fry until the garlic is golden
- Add broth, sugar, peanut butter and hoisin sauce. Whisk to dissolve the PB.
- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer for three minutes.
- Pour in a (or several) bowl and garnish with the roasted peanuts.
**The sauce I just described is not the one pictured above… its better.
For anyone who is interested, here is a map of Vietnam! My mom was born in the north in Hanoi and then moved to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) when she was young. She was in Saigon for the duration of the Vietnam War and escaped only a few days before the city fell in 1975. My dad was also in South Vietnam during the war but my parents didn’t meet until a few years later in Southern California. I can’t wait to go to Vietnam!