Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vietnamese Summer Rolls for Everyone!

Vietnamese summer rolls are a light and healthy, kid-friendly meal that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Fresh and not fried, they are made at the table one at a time. 

The Vietnamese name for these fresh rolls is Goi Cuon which translates literally into "rolled mixed salad." Creating these hand-held salads is an adventure in itself and the girls love to see who can wrap together the perfect roll. 

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)

2 raw pork loin chops
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp sesame oil
2 carrots, peeled
2 small cucumbers 
2 cups bean sprouts
1 head butter or Boston bibb lettuce, washed
2 handfulls of fresh mint 
2 handfulls of fresh basil
1 package summer roll wrappers
1 package vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup roughly chopped peanuts
Kosher salt

Rinse and pat dry pork chops.  

Remove fat from pork chops and slice thin.

Heat sesame oil on medium heat in a sauté pan until shimmering. Carefully place pork slices into the pan so they lie flat and aren't touching. Sear 2 minutes on each side. Remove with tongs and place in a small bowl for serving. 

Boil salted water and place shrimp into pot once you have a rolling boil. Cook for 3 minutes and remove. 

Let the shrimp cool and then cut them in half lengthwise. 

Julienne carrots and cucumber into long skinny strips. 

Soak noodles for 5 minutes in hot water. Drain and place in serving bowl with tongs.

Now its time to make the dipping sauce. The traditional Nuoc Cham served at your local Vietnamese noodle house is a little too fishy and funky for the girls so we make a peanut sauce instead. A little Vietnamese fish sauce is added to give it a more complex flavor. 

Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp shallot, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1/2 tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut butter

Warm the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. 

Add remaining ingredients, whisk well and simmer for 1 minute. If necessary, add additional water until the mixture has a thick, creamy consistency.

The last step is to roughly chop the peanuts and place in a small serving bowl.

Place every bowl and plate of yummy goodness on the table along with a large bowl of hot water. Not too hot for those little fingers! 

Time to eat! The first step in constructing a summer roll is to soften the wrapper using the bowl of hot water.

This will take a few tries to get it just right - don't worry, you have lots of wrappers in the package! Carefully rotate the wrapper until it is almost soft and place it flat on your plate. If the wrapper starts to stick to itself, just submerge it in the water for a few seconds and try again.

Now it is time to fill up the summer roll. There is no right or wrong order so stack the filling according to your taste buds. I usually put the shrimp and the herbs on the outside so you can see them through the translucent wrapper. Be careful not to overfill or you will need a fork to eat it! 

After the shrimp comes the lettuce!

Hooray for noodles!

Veggies and pork too.

Herbs and sprouts, please.

Finally some peanuts for good luck. 

Now it is time to fold. The trick here is "the tighter the better" although the girls seem to be doing fine with their loosey-goosey approach. 

The first few are always a little rough around the edges but practice makes perfect! In the end, its all about trying new things and having fun. This is a perfect meal for that. 

Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper up and over the filling and tuck it under. Fold the sides in or you can leave them open if you prefer.

Roll up and over one time.

Tuck once more and roll again! There you have it. 

Now you can slice it or just dip the whole thing into the peanut sauce. 

How many can you eat?


  1. Oh my we have similar entries!! I call mine spring rolls and I don't have any adorable children, but they are close, real close!! Good Luck to us. GREG

  2. great step-by-step photos! your spring rolls look delicious. it's great to see families eating homemade dishes that offer a healthy variety of veggies and protein. best of luck! :)

  3. Great job!! Looks like you guys had lots of fun with this one! The spring rolls look great- you've got my vote! :)

  4. Excellent post - you got my vote for this! Good luck :) Feel free to hop over to leave a comment :)

    Have a wonderful day!
    jen @