Vietnamese Spring Roll
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"Incredibly fresh and healthy!"Serves 7 | Prep Time 20 min | Cook Time 20 min
Why I Love This Recipe
Accompany each spring roll with peanut sauce and it will be divine!
Ingredients You'll Need
7 - 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5" round rice paper (Note 1)
11 small cooked prawns/shrimp (about 12cm/5" in length, unpeeled including the head)
50g / 1.5 oz dried vermicelli noodles
7 lettuce leaves - use a lettuce with soft leaves, like Oak or Butter Lettuce (Note 2)
14 mint leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce (Note 3)
1 tbsp peanut butter, preferably smooth (crunchy is ok too)
2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lime juice)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp crushed chilli, samba oelak or other chilli paste, adjust to taste (optional)
Peanut Sauce: Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients. Mix briefly (it won't come together), then microwave for 30 seconds. Mix again until smooth. Set aside to cool. Adjust sour with vinegar, salt with salt and spiciness to taste. Thickness can be adjusted with milk or water once cooled.
Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain (or follow packet instructions).
Peel the prawns, slice in half lengthwise and devein (watch video).
Remove the crunchy core of the lettuce leaves (watch video).
Tip - LETTUCE BUNDLE (Note 4): Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, then roll it up, finishing seam side down. Repeat.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn't need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.
Place two rice papers together (if using 2). Note which side is the smooth side - this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn't large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that's fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
Place both the rice papers (one on top of the other, they will stick together) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.
On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between, as per the photo below.
Place the lettuce bundle with the seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper.
Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up to cover the lettuce bundle. Then keep rolling firmly. The rice paper is sticky, it will seal itself.
If you placed the ingredients on the rice paper as per the photo below, your rice paper rolls should look pretty with the prawn and mint leaves on the smooth side of the roll and the seam on the side or underside of the roll.
Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.
* Peanut free sauce alternative: sweet chilli sauce.
1. Tip to make your rice paper roll life easier: use 2 rice papers per roll. Easier to handle and less prone to tearing. The ends of the roll where there are quadruple layers of rice paper will be a bit chewier, but not super chewy, it is still soft.
Nowadays, rice paper is sold even at supermarkets here in Australia, in the Asian section. It's super good value too!
2. Lettuce: I use butter or oak lettuce because they are softer and more pliable than iceberg which makes it perfect for rolling up. Iceberg and other crunchy lettuce doesn't work as well because they break when you scrunch them, and are prone to tearing the rice paper. If you can't find a soft lettuce, then I suggest shredding the lettuce - it will make it much easier to handle!
3. Sauce: Some Hoisin sauces differ in strength of flavour so adjust the flavour to taste at the end by adding more peanut butter or vinegar, then milk or water to adjust thickness. Milk doesn't add flavour to the sauce, it just makes it a lighter colour so you know it's a peanut sauce - the colour you get at Vietnamese restaurants. So you can use water if you prefer, but the sauce will be a darker brown. Or even coconut milk!
4. My tip for rolling these up is to wrap the bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles in the lettuce then roll it up and/or scrunch it lightly so it stays together. Then roll it up in the rice paper. Much easier to handle!
5. STORAGE: Some recipes will tell you that you can make rice paper rolls the day before and you can keep them moist with a damp paper towel. Firstly, I find that the rice paper rolls smelt like the paper towel and secondly, they didn't hold up that great anyway. My rule of thumb is 6 hours (max 8) - you can make them up to 6 hours ahead, tightly wrap each one in cling wrap as soon as you make them and refrigerate. Don't just put them on a plate and put cling wrap on the plate, you should roll up each on in cling wrap (you should be able to fit 2 per piece of cling wrap - wrap one first, then place another next to it and roll up with the remaining cling wrap).