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.
Prepare the shrimp
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 use a sharp knife to devein shrimp 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.
Prepare the pork
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 medium heat for about 30 minutes. The pork is done when it floats or when it is no longer pink in the middle.
Cooking the pork and shrimp
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 medium-high 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.
Slice the pork as thinly as possible so rolling will be easier.
Prepare the noodles and veggies
In another pot, boil 1 gallon of water. 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. You can also use this fancy rice paper water bowl to soften the sheets, too. 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.
What are Vietnamese spring rolls made of?
Traditional Vietnamese spring rolls can be made of many different fillings like vermicelli noodles, mint or other herbs, leafy greens, shrimp, pork, shrimp, and other vegetables inside a tight rice paper wrapper.
Can you make Vietnamese spring rolls ahead time?
Yes you can, but fresher is better. The longer the spring rolls sitting the drier the wrapper can get. Some restaurants that cater individually wrap these rolls in plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
What is a spring roll wrapper made of?
Spring roll wrappers are made of rice flour and water.
How do you roll a Vietnamese spring roll?
A general rule to wrapping spring rolls is to add less filling than you think. Layer your filling ingredients in horizontal lines and add more layers from the bottom up. To roll, wrap up your spring roll similar to a burrito: fold in the left and right sides towards the middle and fold up the bottom flap, and keep rolling in an upwards motion.
Are spring rolls bad for you?
Spring rolls can be considered healthier than fried egg rolls, but it also depends on the fillings you use. This recipe is a healthier version of spring rolls because it’s full of vegetables, lean meat, and shrimp.
How do you keep Vietnamese spring rolls from sticking?
Use a plate larger than your rice papers and add some warm water to this plate. Dip the rice paper for about five seconds to soften the paper, but remove it before it becomes a soggy mess. I like to use a damp cutting board or towel to place my soften rice paper on, this helps to prevent the paper from sticking too much to the surface and also keep it soft.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Goi Cuon)
- 1/2 lb shrimp 36/40 size (453g)
- 1/2 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
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
Peanut Dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 8 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2-3 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 c water
- Sambal chile paste optional
- Defrost shrimp in water bowl. Once defrosted, split and de-vein the shrimp.
- Cooking pork: add pork to a small pot and add enough water to cover about 1 ½ inches above the pork. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar. Bring to a boil on high heat and then lower to medium for 30 minutes. Remove the pork when it turns light brown and floats to the top.
- Cooking shrimp: add 2 inches of water (enough to cover the shrimp). Add ½ tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and boil for 1 ½-2 ½ minutes on medium-high heat until the shrimp is no longer translucent.
- Remove the shells and tails from shrimp, and cut the shrimp in half along the body.
- Slice the pork as thinly as possible so that it will be easier to roll.
- In another pot, boil 1/2 gallon of water and add ⅓ of the rice vermicelli package. Boil for 8 minutes (following the instructions on the packet). Drain and cool the noodles under cold, running water to stop the cooking.
- Prepare your vegetables by rinsing and drying them.
Spring Roll Instructions
- Add warm water to a plate and soak the rice paper sheet for about 5-10 seconds. Soak the rice paper just enough so that it is pliable and easy to handle, but remove the sheet before it gets too soft and sticky. Lay rice paper on a plate and begin to assemble your roll.
- Add lettuce towards the bottom of the rice paper. Leave 1 to 1½ inches of space on either side of the rice paper. Layer with mint and chives. Try to not add too many items because it will be harder to roll and might tear your rice paper.
- Add shrimp in the middle of the rice paper with the orange skin facing down.
- Layer the sliced pork on top of the shrimp.
- Add the noodles across the vegetables, spread evenly across.
- Fold the left and right sides towards the middle so that it's snug. Lay some chives lengthwise with one end poking out. Then fold the bottom up to cover the noodles. You want to keep the roll tight, so lightly squeeze it together as you roll. Continue to roll upwards to complete the spring roll.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
- In a pan over medium heat, saute garlic in oil until fragrant.
- Add in hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and water and stir thoroughly.
- Bring to boil, and then immediately turn off the heat and place into a heat safe dipping bowl.
- Leave the Sambal chile paste on the side so others can add to their own dipping bowl as needed.