Refreshing Spring Rolls

Is there anything more refreshing or healthy than a homemade spring roll this time of year?  Also, called Gỏi cuốn, a traditional Vietnamese spring roll consists of pork, shrimp and rice vermicelli wrapped in rice paper.  There are a few variations of this dish, but it is typically served with raw lettuce, carrots, mint, basil, cilantro, lime, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, peanuts and a peanut dipping sauce. 

While many people are afraid of handling the delicate rice-paper wrapping, it becomes easier to work with the more you use it.  The ingredients included in a spring roll are low cost so don’t be afraid to mess up a few.  You’ll be rewarded with a delicious, fun-to-make dish. 

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 8 rice paper wrappers
  • 16 large cooked shrimp, peeled and halved
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, whole or chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai basil leaves, whole or chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon peanuts, chopped

Directions

Cook and halve shrimp ahead of time.  If you prefer smaller pieces of mint, basil or cilantro, rather than whole leaves, you will want to chop in advance and place in separate bowls.  Lettuce should be chopped as well.

Bring saucepan to a boil.

Thoroughly rinse and drain vermicelli before you add it to the boiling saucepan.  Boil up to 5 minutes or until soft.  Drain and place in a bowl.

Next, dip one rice wrapper into a bowl of hot water to soften.  Lay on a flat surface and place two shrimp (or four halves), vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce inside. Make sure there are two inches all the way around the border of your paper before folding the sides inward. 

Mix fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce.  Separately, mix hoisin sauce and peanuts in another bowl.  These will serve as two separate sauce options. 

Repeat seven more times and enjoy!

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