This traditional Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe (gỏi cuốn) is a fresh and healthy recipe, full of veggies, lean meat, and shrimp so you can chow down with less guilt :).
Made from just rice and water, the rice paper (bánh tráng) could be easily used for lots of other things. At one Vietnamese market, over five brands of this stuff. All with multi-lingual packaging: Vietnamese, Chinese, English, and French.
I used Fortuna brand rice noodles, and Flying Horse brand Spring Roll wrapper:
Roll Variations, Worldwide
Bánh tráng gets around. Cambodians have a similar roll made of the same rice paper called nime chow–it’s a meatless version dipped in a vinegar-based sauce instead of hoisin. The Chinese have a version with duck and cucumber with a hoisin based dipping sauce. Japanese restaurants are also commonly using regular and dyed versions of rice paper for rolls too.
For the meat, use any cut of pork you wish, but leaner works better. The shrimp can also be any size but a medium one helps make rolling easier.
If your shrimp is frozen, thaw it in a bowl of water until it is defrosted so you can cut into them.
Split and devein the shrimp. Most Viet folks don’t care about deveining but I DO! It helps to devein using a sharp knife and a steady hand. I had to pull up a chair to get the hang of this. I also found it helpful to have a bowl of water nearby to rinse them.
Cook the pork: fill a small pot with water about 1.5 inches above the pork, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring to a boil on high heat then lower to 60% for about 30 minutes. It is done when it floats or when it is no longer pink in the middle.
Cook the shrimp: fill a small pot with about 2 inches of water (just enough to cover the shrimp). Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp. Boil for about 1.5-2.5 minutes on 70% heat until the shrimp is no longer translucent in the middle. It will be quick so don’t go anywhere!
Remove the shells and tails and clean off any remaining shrimp intestine. Split the shrimp in half along the body. Try to picture how you want to layer the pork inside the roll so you know how to cut it. Slice as thinly as porkly possible so rolling will be easier.
Get 1 gallon of water boiling. Add 1/3 of the rice vermicelli package and boil for 8 minutes (following the instructions on the packet).
Drain and cool the noodles under cold running water to stop it from cooking.
Wash and dry your veggies! I used an OXO Salad Spinner.
Add some warm water to a plate to dip the rice paper in. Dip only before making each roll. It took me about 5-10 seconds of soak. Make sure to remove it before it gets to the desired softness so it’s easier to handle.
To roll these guys, you can just wing it, or follow how I do it below! Put less than what you think you need so the rolls aren’t exploding. Generally it will look better to show lettuce instead of noodles on the bottom. A tighter roll looks nicer and showcases on the outside. Here’s what I did:
Add some lettuce near the bottom and leave about 1″ to 1.5″ space on the sides. Layer with some mint and some chives.
Add shrimp near the middle, color side down.
Add pork on top of the shrimp and some noodles on top of the vegetables. Make sure it’s spread evenly across.
Fold the sides in so its snug and add some more chives. Then fold the bottom up to cover the rice noodles. You want to keep the roll tight, so lightly squeeze it together as you roll. Once you reach the meat, ease up on the tightness so it doesn’t tear.
- ½ lb. shrimp (36/40 size) (453g)
- ½ lb. pork leg (453g)
- 1 head red or green leaf lettuce
- a few sprigs of mint
- 1 pack rice paper (banh trang)
- 1 pack rice vermicelli, the starchless variety
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 8 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 cup water
- Sambal chile paste (optional)
- Saute garlic in oil until fragrant
- Add in remaining ingredients and stir well
- Bring to boil, and then immediately turn off the heat. Serve.
- Leave the sambal chile paste on the side so others can add to their own dipping bowl as needed.