There are several Vietnamese restaurants in my hometown that I love. I always order spring rolls because they're so fresh and light. Of course, when you eat four at a time you still get full :) I decided to try my hand at making them after a trip to the local Asian market. The ingredients are inexpensive. Don't be afraid to tackle these.. there are several steps, and it takes a little practice, but you'll be a pro in no time!
See the little, pink shrimp? There's a trick to rolling them in..
8 spring roll wrappers (found at Asian market)
1 bundle rice vermicelli noodles (found at Asian market)
2 boneless pork loin chops
green onions, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
fresh mint leaves
fresh basil leaves
hoisin sauce (for dipping)
peanut butter (to add to hoisin)
First, prepare your meats. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil and season moderately with salt. Leaving shells and tails on shrimp, boil about 3-4 minutes or until pink. Remove from water with slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Add about 2 T sugar to water (or more to taste, you want it to be a little sweet and salty to season the pork) and bring to simmer. Add pork chops and cook about 5-6 minutes until cooked through. Set aside to cool. Peel shrimp and slice in half along the “spine” to devein and make each shrimp into “two.” Slice pork across the grain into thin slices.
In a separate pan, boil rice vermicelli noodles according to package directions. (Sorry, I don't have a picture). Drain and set aside. Use clean kitchen scissors to cut cooked noodles into 1-2” pieces for easier assembly. Have the lettuce, green onion, carrot and fresh herbs ready to go!
the wrappers (any brand will do)
For spring roll assembly, fill a large bowl or with warm water. Make sure it is large enough to submerge the wrapper at least halfway. You can rotate the wrapper through the water, making sure to wet the whole thing. Gently squeeze the wet wrapper between you index and middle finger to wipe off excess water. Lay damp wrapper on a dinner plate. Place a small handful of lettuce in the middle of the wrapper, top with about the same amount of noodles, a few slices of pork, onions, carrots, and fresh herbs. (You can really use any fresh ingredients you like! My friend Brooke uses cabbage instead of lettuce). Fill them according to your taste, just be careful not to overfill. Fold the edge closest to you over the filling, tuck under the filling and pull into a “roll.” The wrapper will be soft and sticky so be careful not to tear it. Fold sides in and place 4 shrimp halves (I know, the picture only shows two.. I've upped the ante since then), pink side out, up against the edge of the roll. When you continue to roll the wrapper over the shrimp will be visible through the rice paper. Basically, like rolling a burrito. Practice will help your technique and they'll look better as you go. There’s no “wrong” way to do it. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to eat. I serve 4 rolls as an entrée or 2 as an appetizer.
the hoisin (any brand will do)
To make the dipping sauce, stir 1 T of peanut butter into 1/4 c hoisin sauce. Add a little water to thin it if you like.
You can also use the other sauces as dipping sauce and/or combine them. I LOVE the Asian market.. so many options. Enjoy!