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Old 08-04-2012, 12:52 PM   #1
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Vietnamese Spring Rolls (served fresh, not fried)

Vietnamese spring rolls differ from the usual egg rolls and some spring rolls that are fried, and instead are served fresh and uncooked. What I like about Vietnamese style is that the ingredients are so wholesome (fresh vegetables and herbs, some noodles, shrimp or tofu) and bypass the oil absorption that results from fried egg rolls. The sauces are piquant and flavorsome.



They are filled with basil leaves, cilantro, mint leaves, sliver or matchstick cut carrots, sometimes lettuce, sometimes cucumber slivers, vermicelli (cellophane) noodles, and cooked shrimp or tofu or sometimes left out for vegetarian spring rolls. Then served cold with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (lime juice, fish sauce, white vinegar, minced Thai chili peppers, minced garlic, sugar, etc.) or served with peanut dipping sauce (peanut butter, fish sauce, chili peppers, etc.), or both.

The rice wrappers are briefly soaked in warm water until they just begin to get flexible (leave them a bit too long and they fall apart), then line up the ingredients across the middle leaving room to fold the ends over. The vegetables and herbs are sliced into thin slivers so they can spread across the entire roll and not get lumped. Leaving out the shrimp/tofu you fold the ends over and roll the wrapper part way, then put 3-4 shrimp halves (or tofu) in a line across the wrapper, roll a half turn and repeat shrimp/tofu, finish rolling.

They can be kept in a refrigerator for a few hours but are much better served immediately and near room temperature. Leave them in too long and the wrappers lose their strength and fall apart while eating.

Various Nuoc Cham sauces and peanut sauces are included in the recipe linkss following:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls | My Cooking Hut
chop chop a to z: Vietnamese cold spring roll
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Tiny Urban Kitchen: Vietnamese Spring Rolls (good step-by-step)

There are many variations in the recipes and you can find more examples, Google Vietnamese spring roll recipes.


(note: I originally began this post as a reply to another topic on egg rolls but decided fresh spring rolls was sort of off topic for a fried egg roll discussion.)

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Old 08-04-2012, 01:46 PM   #2
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We used to have a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant here, sadly, it closed. The spring rolls were outstanding, and the dipping sauce was amazing. We always requested extra dipping sauce. It was spicy, brothy, and had shreds of carrot and green onion. Dang, I miss that place!

Will check out your links.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info , I love spring rolls but have never made them before. There are a bunch of Vietnamese restraunts popping up here and the food is very good.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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I first tried them at a Vietnamese restaurant and I don't know why but they weren't what I expected. I expected something like a fried egg roll, and there are spring roll recipes that are fried, probably a cuisine other than Vietnamese. I felt sort of negative about them at the time.

In the mean time I had read some more about these spring rolls online, and saw the rice wraps on sale at my favorite Asian market (just happens to be Vietnamese owned) and decided to have a go at making my own. They turned out really good, and they're real easy to make.

The only critical step is to not leave the rice wrap in the warm water too long. If you're like me you will probably have a few fall apart before you realize that you take them out of the water as soon as they start to soften. They continue to soften as you're assembling the roll. If you do it right they'll hang together as you eat them and particularly as you're dipping them in the sauce.

A tip: Lay a clean kitchen towel on your counter and do your assembly on that.

--------

Meanwhile, Pioneer Woman has her own version of this, leftover turkey spring rolls. I don't think she got it quite right but her version does illustrate the versatility of this recipe.

Leftover Turkey Spring Rolls | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond

Ingredients: leftover turkey, finely diced carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, cellophane noodles, green leaf lettuce, sprouts (alfalfa, bean, etc.) soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil.

I'm not going to completely dissect her recipe, but I have three main gripes:

1. Not diced carrots! Julienne them, make them into long thin strips. It gets with the whole longitudinal thing of spring rolls. She got the cucumber right, same shape, long thin strips.

2. PW, you left out the mint leaves and the basil leaves! That's one of the most interesting taste components of this recipe. There's a herbal trinity of fresh mint, basil and cilantro. BTW, for the mint and basil leaves, separate the leaves, loosely roll them up and then cut with a knife to make thin strips. They get with the longitudinal program too.

3. Very unimaginative dipping sauce. Lose the soy sauce. Nuoc Cham sauce has lime juice, fish sauce, thinly sliced chili peppers, minced garlic, sugar, vinegar... PW's sesame oil might be okay, I dunno, but I've never seen a Nuoc Cham recipe with it. I've occasionally seen soy sauce though... I like the clear Nuoc Cham and the lime juice is really good!

The turkey was an interesting idea and that's why I brought up PW's interpretation of spring rolls. They could be made with other meats, chicken, fish, etc.


Note: Maybe my OP wasn't quite clear but the correct noodles are the transparent kind.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Have you tried serving them with punji sticks ?
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:30 PM   #6
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The trickiest part is mastering working with the wrappers. We had a great time making these one New Year's Eve as part of our finger food spread. Which reminds me, I should make these again...If I remember, we used leftover pork roast, carrot, cucumber, basil, mint, ... and a spicy dipping sauce that included fish sauce...I'd have to dig out my notebook. I don't recall we used soy in the dipping sauce. It seems to me I made two...
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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The whole clue to the wrappers is to not get them overly moist. Get them too wet and they fall apart. And they don't stop getting more flimsy when you take them out of the water. That process continues on as you're assembling them, so if anything err by getting them out sooner.

Whether too flimsy or not moist enough, you can just dump the stuffing into a fresh one.

The clean kitchen towel really works too. Try it next time. The wrappers don't stick to the towel and they don't leave a slick behind or on the wrappers.

I like the look you get when you leave the shrimp as the last thing you roll in, so they peek through only one layer and kind of decorate the presentation. To me that's the classic look of Vietnamese spring rolls.

I'm not so sure how traditional the spicy peanut dipping sauce variation is in Vietnam, but it's common in Thai cooking, and a Vietnamese owned Thai restaurant I sometimes frequent serves them both. It's kind of fun to alternate bites of spring roll with Nuoc Cham on one bite, then peanut sauce next.

I've got to quit typing about this stuff. I've just ate dinner and I ate quite enough, not hungry at all, but discussing this recipe is making me crave it!
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:55 PM   #8
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I like spring rolls because you can just do anything with them. All fresh, or use some canned, like pickled cabbage. Slivered pistachios go well. If you are going to try making them, enter upon it with a light heart and a sense of humor. There's a learning curve. Shitaki mushrooms, sliced thin, go well for vegetarian.
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:59 PM   #9
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I "think" we steamed the wrappers when we made them...this was in 2009, so my memory may be faulty, but it seems to me we did them over a pot of boiling water...they are fun to make and fun to eat. If you haven't tried making them at home,
I suggest that you put doing so on your bucket list of things to try.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:02 AM   #10
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Greg, thanks for the spring roll tips. I've loved them ever since I first tried them years ago at Pikes Market in Seattle. OMG. I'm all for trying a batch on my own, but no sense in doing just for me - I'll have to wait until a family get together and will for sure refer back to your links here.
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Vietnamese Spring Rolls (served fresh, not fried) Vietnamese spring rolls differ from the usual egg rolls and some spring rolls that are fried, and instead are served fresh and uncooked. What I like about Vietnamese style is that the ingredients are so wholesome (fresh vegetables and herbs, some noodles, shrimp or tofu) and bypass the oil absorption that results from fried egg rolls. The sauces are piquant and flavorsome. [IMG]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2179/2514529171_b9b49b2d36.jpg[/IMG] They are filled with basil leaves, cilantro, mint leaves, sliver or matchstick cut carrots, sometimes lettuce, sometimes cucumber slivers, vermicelli (cellophane) noodles, and cooked shrimp or tofu or sometimes left out for vegetarian spring rolls. Then served cold with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (lime juice, fish sauce, white vinegar, minced Thai chili peppers, minced garlic, sugar, etc.) or served with peanut dipping sauce (peanut butter, fish sauce, chili peppers, etc.), or both. The rice wrappers are briefly soaked in warm water until they just begin to get flexible (leave them a bit too long and they fall apart), then line up the ingredients across the middle leaving room to fold the ends over. The vegetables and herbs are sliced into thin slivers so they can spread across the entire roll and not get lumped. Leaving out the shrimp/tofu you fold the ends over and roll the wrapper part way, then put 3-4 shrimp halves (or tofu) in a line across the wrapper, roll a half turn and repeat shrimp/tofu, finish rolling. They can be kept in a refrigerator for a few hours but are much better served immediately and near room temperature. Leave them in too long and the wrappers lose their strength and fall apart while eating. Various Nuoc Cham sauces and peanut sauces are included in the recipe linkss following: [URL="http://www.mycookinghut.com/2008/07/29/vietnamese-spring-rolls/"]Vietnamese Spring Rolls | My Cooking Hut[/URL] [URL="http://chopchopatoz.blogspot.com/2008/12/vietnamese-cold-spring-roll.html"]chop chop a to z: Vietnamese cold spring roll[/URL] [URL="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vietnamese-fresh-spring-rolls/"]Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe - Allrecipes.com[/URL] [URL="http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/2009/07/vietnamese-spring-rolls.html"]Tiny Urban Kitchen: Vietnamese Spring Rolls[/URL] (good step-by-step) There are many variations in the recipes and you can find more examples, [URL="https://www.google.com/search?q=vietnamese+spring+roll+recipes"]Google Vietnamese spring roll recipes[/URL]. [SIZE=2][SIZE=1](note: I originally began this post as a reply to another topic on egg rolls but decided fresh spring rolls was sort of off topic for a fried egg roll discussion.)[/SIZE][/SIZE] 3 stars 1 reviews
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