Vietnamese spring rolls – Gỏi Cuốn is also called fresh spring rolls, summer rolls, salad rolls. They make a great fresh appetizer or can be used as a light main dish. They typically contain Vietnamese herbs, noodles, and thinly sliced meat wrapped in rice papers. You can also slip in a few aromatic Chinese chives to add in a mild garlic flavor, carrot and daikon pickles to balance the taste.
Watch Chow demonstrate how to assemble a Vietnamese spring roll:
Lena’s comments: Spring rolls are traditionally a Vietnamese dish. It’s tasty, fun and light to eat, other Asian cuisines are adopting it as well. Vietnamese love mints and always add mints and other herbs to their spring rolls for a nice fresh kick. Here’s the traditional Vietnamese recipe for the spring rolls. Enjoy!
Makes 16 rolls
1 tsp salt
1/3 lb boneless pork shoulder
24 medium raw headless shrimps, skin on
1/3 lb small dried round rice noodles, cooked in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, drained and flushed with cold water
1 green lettuce, leaves seperated
16 sprigs cilantro
16 sprigs mint
32 Chinese chives (about 1/2 small bunch), optional
16 rice paper rounds, 8 1/2 inches in diameter
1 1/2 cup Spicy Hoisin Sauce or Dipping Fish Sauce
Fill the small saucepan half full with water, add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp, remove from the heat, and let stand for 3 to 5 mins, or until the shrimps turn pinkish color and have curled nicely. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Leave the water in the pan.
While the shrimp are poaching, remove any excess fat from the pork shoulder. Bring the water in the pan to a boil and drop in the pork. When the water starts bubbling at the edges of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover tightly. Let stand for 20 minutes. The pork should be firm. Remove the pork from the pan and let cool. Discard the stock.
Working with 1 shrimp at a time, peel the skin off the shrimp, and cut it in half horizontally. Devein the shrimp as necessary. Set aside on the plate.
Thinly slice the pork across the grain into slices about 1/8 inch thich, 1/2 inch wide, and 4 inches long. Add to the plate of shrimps.
Heat up a kettle of water, bring it to a boil and pour it out in a large bowl for dipping the rice papers.
Set up a wrapping station composed of a flat work surface (a big plat plate, or a cutting board), a bowl of hot water for dipping rice papers. Place the shrimp, pork, noodles, lettuce and herbs nearby.
Dip a rice paper round in water and then place it on your work surface. When the rice paper is soft and tacky, fold a lettuce leaf in half long its spine and tear off the spine. Place the folded leaf on the lower third of the rice paper round. Put about 1/4 cup of the noodles on top of the lettuce, spreading them in a rectangle. Lay a couple of pork strips on top (slightly overlapping, if necessary), and then arrange a few mint and cilantro leaves on top of the pork, spreading them out to distribute their flavors evenly.
Bring up the lower edge of the rice paper to just cover the herbs. Then roll the rice paper a half turn so that the lettuce is on top and visible through the rice paper. Add 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, to the unrolled portion of rice paper, lining them up snugly along the partially finished roll. Fold the sides of the round inward to cover the filling. Roll one more full turn, so that the orange sides of the shrimp are now facing up and visible through the rice paper. Tuck 2 Chinese chives into the roll, letting them extend out one end. Continue to roll until you have a snug cylindrical package. The rice paper is self healing. Use a scissors to trim the chives, leaving a 3/4 inch ‘tail’ extending from the end.
Repeat this process to make 16 rolls, placing finished rolls on a serving platter. If the rolls seem too long to manage and eat comfortably, cut them in half. Serve the rolls with the sauce by dipping into it on each bite.
For left over rolls, cover them in plastic to prevent the rice paper from drying out and becoming unpleasantly tough.
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