Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring Rolls, by Linda Thi Keeney

Fresh Spring Rolls, called Goi Cuon in Vietnamese, are a very healthy way of eating. You can combine many different fresh herbs with rice noodles, vegetables, tofu, along with shrimp, pork and/or a substitute meat. You do not have to use meat if you are a vegetarian so there are many options with Goi Cuon. Everything is wrapped up in rice paper and the final product looks similar to a large egg roll. Below is a video which will show you how to create these edible works of art. There are many different dipping sauces people can use for spring rolls, some healthier options than others. For example, there is a fish sauce dip called nuoc cham, a peanut dipping sauce called nuoc leo and a special sauce I use which is made from mung beans. Part of the fun of this kind of cooking is you can experiment and try new things, there are no rules.

Here is a basic recipe you can use to make 12 spring rolls

-8oz lean pork/chicken or substitute tofu
-10oz fresh shrimp
-12 dried rice paper wrappers, 8 inch diameter
-1 small head of lettuce
-1 small pack of fried vermicelli noodles
-1 bunch cilantro, sliced
-1 bunch mint, can be substituted with other herbs if you wish
-1 carrot, grated
- any desired dipping sauce

You have to do some prep work before you are ready to start wrapping. First you must boil your pork, or grill your chicken. If you are using tofu as your substitute you can either fry or grill your tofu. You then want to let which ever one you use cool down for 10 minutes. While the meat or tofu is cooling you can grate your carrots and slice your herbs. Next you will want to get your rice noodles ready by blanching them for about two minutes until they are soft. After two minutes you will take the noodles out of the water and strain them. Now the fun part begins and you get to start enjoying your spring rolls. Place all the ingredients in the middle of the table along with a bowl of warm water, at least 10 inches in diameter. You will be dipping your rice paper in the warm water to get it wet so it will soften. This takes about one minute. To build your spring roll you can either start with vermicelli or lettuce as the base. After placing the lettuce and vermicelli on the rice paper you will add meat or tofu. Making sure everything stays in place you will then add your carrots and herbs and begin the rolling process. It takes some practice to get the hang of it but this is also part of the fun. Enjoy the video and happy rolling

More pages