A wise chef once said in a television show that anything covered in batter and fried is bound to be good. True, however there are times when one gets tired of the fat and heaviness of fried food and simply wants something light and refreshing.
After the Holidays, sitting around the kitchen table, with bellies full of heavy proteins and complex carbohydrates and amidst left over of even more proteins and carbs, a brilliant idea, in the form of this dish, came to mind.
Vietnamese spring rolls are a nice break from the usual fried variety and from any other fried food. In addition, they are easy to make and they can be prepared in a few minutes. They are versatile too, the recipe can be altered to accommodate different preferences or availability of ingredients and they can be served any time of the day or in any season.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Here’s what you will need:
FOR THE ROLLS
- 3 ounces rice vermicelli
- 12 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
- 12 large cooked shrimp – peeled, deveined and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 leaves lettuce, chopped
FOR THE SAUCES
- 4 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce, or fresh red chili, chopped
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts
PREPARE THE ROLLS
- Pour water in a stockpot and place over medium heat. Once water is boiling, put rice vermicelli and cook for 3-5 minutes. When done, drain vermicelli and put in a cold-water bath.
- Fill a large bowl or a hollow plate with warm water. Dip one rice wrapper quickly to soften it. Lay wrapper flat and place ingredients in a row along the center – starting with the 2 shrimp halves, then a handful of vermicelli, and then the leaves. Remember to leave about 2 inches of the sides uncovered with ingredients. Fold sides inward and tightly roll.
- Repeat until all rolls are done.
PREPARE THE SAUCES
- In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili.
- In another bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts.
Serve the rolls and the sauces.