Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with a Spicy-Hoisin Dipping Sauce

These spring rolls were course 2 in a Vietnamese feast for my dad's birthday.
The MenuEasy beef pho, or what we all named it, faux pho
Vietnamese spring rolls with chicken and shrimp; dipping sauce
Marinated pork chops, stir fried spicy broccolini (posts to follow soon)

My dad and sister ate a lot of spring rolls while in Vietnam. My sister told me that in some places, the rice paper wrappers were served hard, not soaked and softened like I read about online. I decided to go with softened wrappers.

I enjoyed spring rolls in a Vietnamese restaurant in Philadelphia last year, so I had an idea of what ingredients to use. I talked to my sister and we came up with this list:

- Chicken: thinly sliced, seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed with olive oil, ginger, and cilantro and sauteed.
- Shrimp: tossed with ginger and cilantro, sauteed in olive oil.

- Napa cabbage
- Thinly sliced carrots (I used my julienne slicer)
- Thinly sliced cucumbers (also used my julienne slicer)
- Bean sprouts
- Cilantro
- Mint

Stacy put the sauce together from
this recipe for a hoisin dipping sauce found on the Epicurious web site. Easy, fragrant, sweet, and spicy! It also worked well with the noodles as well as on the pork in our next course. Mix these ingredients together:

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
Putting together the rolls...
My sister, because she was good at rolling the rolls and she also had freshly manicured hands, did a step my step demonstration of making the perfect roll -
Before making the rolls, heat water in a large, flat pot/pan. Holding the paper at one side, dip it into the water until the entire thing is covered. Be careful to keep it from folding as it gets very sticky. Place softened paper flat on a plate.
Step 1 (top left): Place your ingredients near one end of the paper, and in a long, piled stack. She chose carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, mint, cilantro, and chicken. Don't put too many things in your pile - Jon made this mistake and ended up eating it like a salad!
Step 2 (top right): Fold the near end over the ingredients, covering totally.
Step 3 (bottom left): Fold both sides in to close up the ends of the roll
Step 4 (bottom right); push the ingredients into the roll as you start to roll it toward yourself. This keeps everything tight and in place.
The finished roll - she's pretty good!

These little rolls are full of fresh and healthy ingredients, and I prefer them over the fried version. I have some leftover ingredients, so tonight I think I'm going to saute some tofu to use with the veggies in a few rolls.

We took a little break from eating between this course and our final course...this is a lot of food! But everything is so light and healthy that you don't feel uncomfortably full. Up next, grilled marinated pork chops and stir fried spicy broccolini.

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  1. These spring rolls were as close as one can get to what we experienced at the DMZ Cafe in Hue and other restaurants in Saigon and Ha Noi -- See more at back2vietnam.blogspot.com

  2. I love your blog! Everything looks so good! Next time you should include rice noodles with this spring roll recipe. Something that looks like this: http://www.khmerkromrecipes.com/photo_recipes/rice_noodles.jpg. It's not pho noodle. These noodles are more round. Boil the noodles as you would for spagetti and cook to your tenderness! Hopefully you enjoy this little addition to your springrolls. I usually make my own special peanut sauce that everyone loves. I'm not a huge fan of hoisin as most other people do. Gotta be creative, right? =)