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Vietnamese Summer Rolls/Spring Rolls

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Steamed shrimp (ugh, butterflying them and then steaming them made them go really crooked!).

I guess I didn't go over the shrimp thing before. Boil the shrimp (with peel on) until just cooked. Plunge into ice water bath. Lay a shrimp on a cutting board. Cut clean in half so you end up with two C-shaped pieces -- don't butterfly them. The idea is that it will look like a whole shrimp showing through the wrapper, but it is half, so it is much thinner. Then peel each half.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I made Summer Rolls last night and we took pictures of the filling and rolling procedure. But to entice, here's the finished product:


My mise en place:

Pickled Carrots, Daikon, and Red Bell Pepper
Cooked Shrimp (Boiled, peeled, sliced in half, cleaned of any dirt, dressed with a spoonful of nuoc cham)
Other cooked meat, sliced into strips (anything you may have leftover will work, I used a leftover turkey burger and a few slices of roast turkey breast)
Lettuce: soft leaved, like red or green leaf
Herbs: Scallions (just the green part, sliced thin), mint (leaves) and cilantro (on the stem)
Rice Noodles (soaked, boiled for about 3 minutes in salted water, rinsed and drained)
Nuoc Cham - Vietnamese Table Sauce
Nuoc Leo - Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
6 dampened paper towels (soak in water, then wring out thoroughly)
1 package of Banh Trang


The Banh Trang on the right are actually made of wheat, not rice. Also, they have been sitting in my cupboard for more than a year. The rice one's I bought fresh. I made some with both types of wrappers. It made no difference.

Fill a basin with warm water. Lay one of your dampened paper towels on your work surface. One at a time, briefly dip the wrappers into the water. Just submerge it for a couple seconds, allow the excess water to drip off, then lay it out on your paper towel. Repeat two more times. Turn over your paper towel/banh trang package so the first wrapper is on top. Check to see if the wrapper is ready, you may have to wait a minute or so, you want it all soft with no stiff spots. DO NOT PICK UP THE WRAPPER, fill and roll it right there on the paper towel.


Lay out two pieces of shrimp, pretty side down just above the midline of the wrapper.


Place some lettuce on top of the shrimp. If you are using a firm lettuce, shred it, if not (I'm using red leaf lettuce) just tear it into 2-3 inch pieces. It is there to make a dark background for the shrimp as much as for vegetal content of the roll.


Lay a handful of rice noodles on top of to a little below the lettuce (you should see some lettuce above, but not below the noodles). I leave the noodles in a strainer in the sink while I work. If the noodles become too sticky, just rinse them again and allow to drain. A good time to do this is just before the dampening/layering of the wrappers. That way the noodles have a couple minutes to drain before being needed again.


Sprinkle some slivered scallions on top of the noodles.


Then add your pickled vegetables and other meat on top of that. I try to tuck the vegetables into the noodles. They are softened from the pickling, but will still poke through the wrapper if you're not careful. You can use shredded vegetables if you are worried about the poking.


Finally, place several mint leaves on top of everything, I like quite a bit.


Now you are ready to roll. Pull the bottom of the wrapper up over the top, then fold in the sides.


Now is the time to place your garnish herbs. I'm using cilantro, but chives are nice here too (if using chives, then add cilantro to the inside, with the mint, and then the scallions are optional). Take a stem of cilantro, trimmed to the length of the roll) and place it so the top leaves are stickign out the side. You can repeat this on both sides, or just have it sticking out one side. I like a lot of herbs so I use two stems.


Finish rolling it up, the shrimp should be right on top with the folded part on the bottom. Lay on top of one of the dampend paper towels on a plate, place another one on top of the rolls while you are working. Here's a nice plateful of rolls, serve the rolls cut in half with two little individual bowls of nuac cham and nuoc leo -- we prefer to use a teaspoon to add sauce to the rolls rather than dipping (too much stuff falls out).


Oh no! The one on the right ripped open! Don't panic, just rewrap the torn roll inside another wrapper.


Note: RecipeGullet links for sauces & salad above.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)
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I just had one of the leftover rolls from last night for lunch. I had wrapped it individually in plastic wrap:


The insides were fine, the wrap was slightly mushy in some places, while getting slightly hard in others. It was acceptable to serve myself for lunch, and would make a much better than usual brown bag for work. However, if I were serving them to other people, I would try to make them no more than a few hours ahead. And for overnight, perhaps wrap in a dampened paper towel, then in plastic wrap as well.

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Sequim, I'm sorry you had trouble the first time!

It does get confusing with different cultures calling the rolls different things. Spring rolls, summer rolls etc. Luckily the ingredients are cheap, and healthy, so keep on keeping on and find a method that works for you.

I dip each wrapper just before I'm going to make them, let them drip, then lay them out on the counter. I'm not coordinated enough for much else. :blush: If you are using marinated veggies or noodles, then you have to blot the excess moisture. I have had great success wrapping each roll in saran wrap and taking them for lunch the next day. If you let them sit more than that, then excess moisture dissolves parts of the wrapper and other parts dry out. Ick!!! Rachel, those look SOOO dang good that I'm going to have to make some next week for sure. And with shrimp. I've not done that yet, believe it or not!

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I just had one of the leftover rolls from last night for lunch. I had wrapped it individually in plastic wrap...

that is such a lovely post, and photos too, Rachel--thanks~! (noise of stomach rumbling...)

i have to confess i always use the plastic wrap, for these reasons:

--if making a big batch--and why make a small batch?--it stops them from sticking together.

--if your banh trang has a rip or hole in it, or if you make a sloppy summer roll, the plastic wrap acts as a kind of "girdle" :smile: to hold it together until it firms up a bit. (cheating, i know. :biggrin: )

if you can find (furikake thread) furikake (rice "sprinkles" from Japan with seaweed, bonito, sesame seed, etc.) they make a nice addition to the rolls, too!


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

--Isak Dinesen

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Here's some more detail on the shrimp. I prefer to use larger ones than the ones pictured above, but I did my shopping at a small Philapino store and they only had these medium shrimp, head on or off. The head on shrimp smelled much much fresher than the head off shrimp, so I bought a handful of those. You need 1 shrimp per roll if they are large enough, 2 if they are small. I should have bought a few more, I ran out towards the end of roll making.

Bring a quart of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Add shrimp, simmer for 2-5 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Drain and shock the shrimp in ice water.

Peel the shrimp and lay flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife (I use a 6" chefs, a paring knife would be too small), slice in half so that you get two nice flat shrimp halves. If the shrimp are dirty inside put them in a bowl and rinse them thoroughly under running water. Drain. Toss with a spoonful of nuoc cham and allow to marinate while you prep everything else.

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To weigh in on the "how long do they keep" question:

At the restaurants, we made them fresh every morning, and stored them in the fridge covered with dry cloth towels and plastic wrap. In single layers, otherwise they'd stick to each other. Even when well-wrapped, by the next morning the wrappers would have become rubbery. (As Rachel says, okay for my lunch but not for anyone else's, especially not the paying customers.) If I tried to add a layer of damp towels, they usually got too soft. But we pretty much used them up each day.

If any were left the next day, we'd unroll them to get to the shrimp, and make new ones; the rest of the filling would be discarded. Of course, the ones with the re-used shrimp would be served first, and the shrimp would never be used a third time; those rolls would be discarded entirely (or left where the staff could have them).

Another thing: we used the large-diameter wrappers, and didn't bother to fold in the ends, just trimmed them off. (Mmmmm, bits to nibble while making them.) We sliced the rolls straight across into 1 1/2-inch lengths (to serve as the base for pieces of mahi mahi), only cutting them as needed.

Sauces were a lemongrass one, thickened with cornstarch (okay, but not my favorite), and a chile-garlic with a base of fish sauce and sugar cooked to caramel. (If anyone want the recipe, I'll post it on eGRA.)

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Do you always use rice noodles? Mung bean threads are what I use. Lately, sauteed julienned Chinese mushrooms and wood ears were added to my summer roll filling.

Fresh mint adds a refreshing taste. Instead of lettuce, I have been using mixed field greens. These add a bite because of the baby beet leaves, dandelion, escarol, etc.

Wrapping my summer roll with a lettuce leave just before devouring adds even more crunch.

I find that if I put a wrap in warm water while working on one roll, the second is pliable by the time the first one is done.



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Do the mung bean threads cook to white? I think I've used them before for a salad, and they cooked to translucent, which I wouldn't like in summer rolls.

Regarding the soaking -- do you have trouble moving the pliable wrapper from the water to the work surface? The reason I like the way I'm doing it is that you are moving a still firm wrapper. It doesn't stick to the paper toweling, so I don't have to move it again until I'm rollling it around the filling.

I find that there's enough leafiness for me between the lettuce inside and the herbs, but yes, most recipes I've seen call for wrapping the roll in a lettuce leaf. I do that with the fried spring rolls though.

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The mung bean threads are just soaked, not cooked. I guess if you want to maintain the whiteness, then rice noodles are the route to go. The mung bean threads turn an amber colour once mixed in with the mushrooms, etc. I'll have to try it with the rice noodles. I just never have any in my pantry. :smile:

As for the wrappers, I haven't had any rip or fall apart on me yet. I let them drip off before laying them onto a wooden board. Sometimes I have to blot it with a paper towel, but most of the time, they are just perfect for wrapping.

I think I like the mung beans and the lettuce wrap because it reminds me of a lunar new year vegetarian dish my mom makes. It also has olives that are similar to fermented black beans.

PS Tell Jason I haven't forgotten the reduced wonton meat recipe for him. :biggrin:



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they're called "banh trang", and they come in a flat plastic mini-drum, sometimes with a rose on the package.

Yep! These are the best to use, in my experience.

I LOVED the pics! Great way to demonstrate the technique ( which, btw, comes from repitition, as was said before).

Some ideas for fillers...

Sushi rice, marinated cukes, green onions, shrimp and cilantro.

Purple sticky rice, tuna, peanuts, nam pla, hoison and more onions.

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Wow, this has become the thread for everything you wanted to know about spring/summer rolls. Lots of good ideas here. I've been printing out the dipping sauce recipes Rachel linked to. Also, Suzanne, feel free to post yours - it sounds intriguing. Next week I'm going to try another batch - I like the idea of wrapping them in saran wrap to save a few as it dismays me that I ate them all each time before. I'd like to have some for my next day's lunch.

Thanks Rachel for the pictorial tutorial, that's so helpful to see how it should look when you're working on them.

Does anyone have the Vietnamese name for these? So we can avoid the spring/summer confusion!

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Wow, this has become the thread for everything you wanted to know about spring/summer rolls...

...Does anyone have the Vietnamese name for these?  So we can avoid the spring/summer confusion!

i'm glad we have a spring/summer roll thread. :smile:

i thought the Vietnamese was cha gio, but these are the fried ones. the uncooked ones are called goi cuon, as eG'er Andrea mentioned.

the Japanese version is called harumaki ("spring roll"), as

torakris said...

the sauce i make with them is miso-mayonnaise sauce recipe...

am making some tomorrow with Thai basil and spearmint from patio garden. :wub:

Moderator note: Threads merged.

Edited by gus_tatory (log)

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

--Isak Dinesen

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the Japanese version is called harumaki ("spring roll"), as

torakris said...

actually harumaki refer to the deep fried versions, nama harumaki are the uncooked rice paper ones, nama meaning either raw or fresh.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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Thank you for the wonderful pictures! Especially the pictures of the packaging for the wrappers. I was out shopping for wraps this weekend trying to find the brand with a rose...as it turns out, almost all brands have a rose on them! :shock:

This time, I went for the brand that felt the thickest...we'll see if I still have the disintegrating problem. Of course, I need to try the damp towel trick as well!

What my wife and I like to do in terms of filling is to replace the bean threads with some steamed jicama and we'll add some egg cooked with a little soy and sugar (kind of like Japanese tamago) and use some steamed Chinese lap cheung (pork sausage) along with lettuce, cilantro, and basil. For sauce, we use a mixture of hoisin and peanut butter....although gus_tatory's miso-mayo sauce sounds great.

I wasn't planning on making rolls until later in the week, but this threads gotten me in the mood for them tonight :laugh:

Edited by Fred12fred (log)
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  • 5 months later...
I used some Asian chive for decoration and added taste


When I try to make these, I have trouble getting a nice, tight, neat roll that sticks. Any advice you can share? (I am similarly burrito-rolling challenged).


Edited by ianeccleston (log)
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Excellent photo!

Welcome, guppymo!

Can you post your recipe? I am curious about the filling you used.

Also, did you serve them with any dipping sauces?

Thanks for making me hungry. :raz:


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


Tim Oliver

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Yes, welcome indeed!

And thanks for reminding me once again that I have no talent. :raz:  :laugh:  Lovely work, both the food & the photo.


Thank's all for your hospitality.

I am new here but I think this forum is very great.

As for the filling I used vermicelli, basil, mint, pork, and shrimp (nothing fancy here).

I think the secret to make this type of spring roll is to have 2 "stations". By saying station I mean dipping the rice paper into hot water then set it on one large plate, then dip another rice paper and set it on another plate. Next start working on the rice paper on the first page - by then the water would ideally moist the paper hence it can be rolled around effortlessly. Once finished with rolling the first roll, don't forget to soak another rice paper and set it on the plate, then move the the other plate to work on, and so on..

As for the sauce I am fortunated to live in Boston where Asian supermarkets (88's) and Vietnamese markets in Dorchester (Truong Thinh) sell ready-made dipping sauces for fresh spring rolls call "Tuong Goi Cuon" (I will try to take a picture of the bottle and post later). I usually poured the whole bottle onto a pot, cook on low heat for 5 minutes, add a little of the chilly sauce (Spiracha), a table spoon of sugar (optional, the raw sauce tends to be a little salty), a squirt of hoisin sauce. Next I would pour it into a bowl and sprinkle the sauce with some ground peanuts.

Hoisin and Spiracha mixture is also ok for dipping sauce.

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