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Vietnamese Summer Rolls/Spring Rolls


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from Jason Perlow on 12:53 pm on July 23, 2001

Effectively what you need are vietnamese spring roll wrappers, which are made of wheat flour and you can get them from any good asian grocery. You put each one in warm water for a few seconds, pad it dry with a towel -- put on a layer of shrimp, basil, mint leaves, cilantro, cucumber, and small strip of cold chicken breast or pork loin, with a single blade of chive down the middle. add a Layer of rice stick noodles (which are cooked the same way as the wrappers, in warm water for a few minutes so they get soft).

Roll it up and dip in a mixture of peanuts, hoisin sauce and nam pla/nuoc mam (fish sauce).

Repeat until not hungry anymore.

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Since I'm the one who actually makes them, I feel compelled to comment on Jason's directions for summer rolls.  After you dip the wrappers in warm water, they need to sit for minute before they get soft enough to roll.  I work with about three wrappers at a time and a strip of about 4 paper towels.  Dip one wrapper in the water. Lay it on one end of the paper towel, fold the towel over the wet wrapper, dip the next wrapper and lay on top of the towel and fold over in the other direction.  Dip the third wrapper, fold the towel over.  Now flip the package over, by this time the first wrapper is ready to be used.  Fill and roll tightly like a burrito.  Place rolls on a plate covered by a damp towel until they are all rolled up.

Place the shrimp down first in the center of the wrapper.  They get sliced in half vertically and I lay them down yin-yang style.  The shrimp is followed by a salad of shredded red leaf lettuce, and torn basil and mint leaves.  This is topped with about 1 tsp. chopped cooked meat (usually some leftover steak, pork or chicken). Then a small handful of cooked rice stick noodles.  

Less is more when it comes to filling these.  If they are too full the wrapper is likely to tear.

Serve with two sauces: Nuoc leo (a quick version is equal parts peanut butter and hoisin) and Nuoc cham (a sweet/sour/hot vinegar based sauce, the bottled version is called Spring Roll Sauce.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Interesting. I've only seen these made with rice paper wrappers, made from rice flour. I'd imagine these are probably a little more hardy (and larger) than than the wheat flour ones - all the better to fit more in :)

I haven't tried basil - we use a mixture of regular mint, Vietnamese mint and shiso leaves. we tend to be a bit lazier making them as well - just throw  all the ingredients on the table and let them as you make them! With 2 people it takes about as long to soak a wrapper as it does to make and eat a roll...  

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  • 4 months later...

I assume the basil they're talking about is not sweet Italian basil, but hot basil or Thai basil  (Bai Kaprow in Thai; Paiso in Chinese).  It's easy to find in NY Chinatown, and can be found in SF in the Southeast Asian shops in the Tenderloin (not many places in Chinatown have it).  When I lived in D.C. years ago I took some stalks home after a lunch of Pho and stuck them in a glass of water in the sun.  They sprouted and, when replanted, grew fast and furiously.  They have great flavor.  Perfect to finish off stir-frys.

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oddly enough, i logged on to inquire about vietnamese marinated pork.  i will do so in a new thread.  however, i've also recently gotten into vietnamese, or maybe it's thai, spring rolls.   cooking them that is.  

i've only been able to find "wonton wrappers" in the local grocery store.  these are essentially egg roll wrappers.  (i'm talking about frying these rolls by the way).  they do a nice job, but have the distinctive texture and flavor of egg rolls.

how about the fried vietnamese rolls?  i've had them in what i consider rice paper, and also some other paper.  perhaps it's wheat flour that i like better, which was previously mentioned in this thread?  

two web resources that i've found handy (but i've never ordered from) are:  www.thaigrocer.com, which has some good stuff, and also, www.ethnicgrocer.com.  try them if you can't find a local place.

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re: the wheat vs rice flour wrappers. I've used both. Frankly, in use there seems to be very little difference, I think one is round and the other is square. The main thing is to make sure you have the kind that aren't supposed to be cooked. (Tommy - can't help you with making the fried spring rolls, I've only made Chinese Egg Rolls.) You can tell that it is the kind that only needs to be soaked because it has a waffle pattern imprinted on it from the mats they lay on while drying (during production).

re: basil. Yes, we use Thai basil. Wondee (of Wondee's restaurant in Hackensack, NJ) gave us a small Thai basil plant last summer that did really well in our garden. I think we used that more than the regular Italian basil.

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Back in the early 80's when I used to make fried Vietnamese Spring rolls, I was advised by my vietnamese friend to use lumpia for the wrappers (for the fried version).  It's found in the freezer section, from Phillapines if my memory serves me.  It made the most wonderful crispy spring rolls, very different than the chinese style.  They were so good, I don't know why I don't make them any more...maybe I should, just thinking about them gives me a craving for them.  I've never tried to make the fresh version.  Thanks for the recipe, I will be sure to try.

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There an article on summer rolls in this mont's Cooking Illustrated.  (Oddly, they refer to the unfried version as spring rolls.  I had always thought that spring = fried, summer = fresh.)  They suggest the rice wrapper as superior to wheat or tapioca.

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Quote: from Dstone001 on 12:31 pm on Jan. 18, 2002

There an article on summer rolls in this mont's Cooking Illustrated.  (Oddly, they refer to the unfried version as spring rolls.  I had always thought that spring = fried, summer = fresh.)  They suggest the rice wrapper as superior to wheat or tapioca.

good call.  i get that mag, but haven't looked yet.  i agree...summer=fresh, spring=raw.  although, i've seen vietnamese menus referring to their fried version as "egg rolls".

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  • 1 year later...

I made a bunch of reasonably classical Vietnamese summer rolls for dinner... proper skins, mung bean vermicelli, lettuce, juilienned carrots, shrimp, chives, mint... and then I recognized I had no idea what sort of sauce one is supposed to dip these things into.

So I improvised... and it turned out quite well... a few T of unsweetened chunk peanut butter, a t of minced garlic, maybe a T of Thai roasted red pepper paste, a t of a Thai chunky red pepper and basil and garlic sauce, a squeeze of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice, all thrown into some water and reduced until the consistency was sauce-like.

Anybody have any other suggestions for tasty stuff to dip these yummy summer snacks into?

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I love summer rolls and make them a lot!

The sauce I am using depends on what the filling is and even then I still have 2 to 3 sauces always on the table.

My favorite is equal amounts of nampla and lime juice with some sugar, minced ginger and minced chile

this one goes with everything but is especially good with seafood/fish (sashimi style)

I also make a ccouple of peanut sauces, my favorites are my smooth sauce (recipe is somewhere in the middle of the dinner thread) and chunky sauce made with hoison and chile paste from Cook's Illustrated Magazine.

I also like sriracha, sweet chile sauce and just plain hoison sauce (smeared inside the roll, this is really good with pork)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Just made Vietnames summer rolls for dinner on Sunday! Served with a Nuoc Leo like sauce - hoisin sauce, peanut butter, crushed peanuts, tamarind juice, sugar, minced garlic, lemon juice and stirred in hot water till desired consistency.

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If you can find Lingham's Chilli Sauce from Malaysia, try it! :wub: Hot, sweet, clingy -- so much easier than making one's own. At a restaurant where I worked, I made a sort of caramelized fish sauce/garlic/ground chili/lime sauce that was excellent; but Lingham's is so much easier!!!!!

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  • 11 months later...

there's something so summery about spring rolls :smile: . cool, fresh, and crunchy, with the lovely herbs, and (depending on whose you eat) chilled seafood.

i made 40 for a BBQ last weekend, and they were a hit. on the dampened banh trang (rice paper wrapper) i put:

--4 leaves coriander, facing out

--2 leaves mint, facing out

--2 decent-sized steamed shrimp, each halved laterally, also facing out

--1/2 stick kani kana (crabstick, or surimi, or goberge) halved laterally, also facing out

--small handful cooked, drained, chilled bean thread noodles/rice vermicelli

--small handful mung bean sprouts

--sprinkle with furikake see this eGullet thread: Japanese rice "sprinkles" made with katsuobushi (bonito flakes), nori flakes, black and white sesame seeds: this adds a great deal of visual and textural interest as it shows through the 'wrapper'

--and finally i took a leaf of Boston lettuce, mounded it together in a cigar-shape, and rolled, tucking sides in.

the dipping sauce was not the traditional nam pla (fish sauce), but rather a Japanese-inspired blend of mayonnaise, sesame oil, lemon juice (shoulda been yuzu: can't get it here), miso paste, soy sauce, and red chili flakes. mmm... :wub:

i had never handled the rice paper wrappers before, so now i have a new skill. it took me 4 hours to make 40 of them, but it was a very meditative procedure... :laugh: PM me if you want tips on handling those pesky rice paper wrappers. :smile:

what do you put in yours?

EDIT to add: i forgot the sesame oil...

SEE ALSO: these eGullet threads referring to harumaki--Japanese spring rolls...

Edited by gus_tatory (log)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Gus,

These are one of my favorite foods! :biggrin:

At our house we make them DIY (do it yourself) style, I place all the ingredients on a large platter and put a bowl or two of warm water as well and everyone makes them as they eat. Living in Japan I take advantage of the fresh fish and use a lot of sashimi, normally tuna or a white fleshed fish like sea bream, other times I use boiled shrimp or paper thin pieces of pork--just cooked. Other additions can include (though not necessarily all together):

rice noodles or Japanese harusame

bean sprouts

cucumbers

carrots

nira (garlic chives)

lettuce leaves

mizuna

avocado

mint

cilantro

shiso

My favorite dipping sauce is made with nampla, lime juice, sugar, ginger and chiles, my husband likes sweet chile sauce and I also will set out a container of hoisin sauce if pork is included.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I make them, and my mum makes then,

she puts:

sliced fried porkchop, marinated before cooking,

lettuce

rice vermicelli,

mint, asian basil, coriander

2 cooked shrimp

cuke shredded, carrot shredded

I like them with no pork and shredded roast duck and duck skin instead... I mix the duck with a bit of hoisin, chopped green onion, and some herbs (betel leaf is nice)

I like the bean based dipping sauce.. Your mayo sounds really really yummy, as does the japanese twist, and rolling the lettuce!! :)

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Not to correct everyone's previous posts, well actually exactly to correct everyone's posts, but Cha Gio are the fried rolls, often cut up and put on vermicelli with grilled pork and other stuff.

The ones that you are describing, where you wet the wrappers and roll shrimp and mint leaves and such and just eat without frying are not named Cha Gio...though I do not know what their vietnamese name is....

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