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Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Nikki Nguyen)

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Serves 12 | Prep Time 30 | Cook Time 20

Why I Love This Recipe

While these are easy, they are foreign to a lot of people! You can find good photos/video for how to make these here:

Ingredients You'll Need

Spring Rolls
18 medium shell-on shrimp (21/25 count, about 3/4 pounds, defrosted if frozen)
3 ounces thin rice vermicelli (maifun)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 to 1 1/2 Persian cucumber, cut into matchsticks (see note 1)
a large red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves
12 pieces of butter lettuce, bottom tough stems removed (see note 2)
12 large (22cm) circular rice paper sheets
warm water (for rolling spring rolls)

Peanut Sauce (see note 3)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (can sub with brown sugar, see note 4)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Nước Chấm
1/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 Thai chilli, sliced
a clove of garlic, minced

Hoisin Dipping Sauce
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons filtered water


Prepare the Dipping Sauce (see note 5)

Pick your dipping sauce of choice above and mix all the sauce ingredients together. Make sure to use warm water for the nuoc cham so that the sugar dissolves more easily.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
I like to prepare the sauce before making the spring rolls so that the flavors have a longer time to develop.

Prepare the Shrimp

Fill a medium saucepan or small pot with water and bring it to boil on high heat (see note 6).
Once the water boils, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the water and let them cool for 5 minutes. Peel the shells from the shrimp.
Lay a shrimp on its side on a chopping board. Gently press the shrimp down with one hand and use the other to slice the shrimp in half, horizontally (knife parallel to the chopping board). Repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Prepare the Noodles

Fill a large saucepan or small pot with water and bring it to boil on high heat.
Turn off the heat. Let the noodles sit in the hot water for about 5 to 8 minutes. Double check the package directions to see how long they should sit in hot water as the cooking time varies across different brands.
Once the noodles have softened, drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. I like cutting the noodles with kitchen scissors several times so they are shorter and easier to grab.

Set Up Spring Roll Station

Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water to wet the rice paper sheets.
Transfer all the vegetables, shrimp, herbs, and noodles into bowls and arrange them on your work top.
Get a chopping board ready. Dip your hand in the water and brush water over the surface of the chopping board so that it is damp. I usually wet the surface again after every 2 spring rolls. Alternatively, lay a damp paper towel over your work surface.

Roll the Spring Rolls (refer to the photo or video in the post for reference)

Quickly dip a sheet of rice paper in the lukewarm water to moisten the entire surface. This should take no longer than a few seconds.
Lay the wet rice paper on your work surface. Place a piece of butter lettuce close to the bottom edge of the rice paper. Arrange a small pinch each of rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and mint leaves over the center of the lettuce leaf (see note 7).
Arrange 3 pieces of shrimp about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the top edge of the rice paper. Make sure that the orange/pink side is facing down.
Grab the lower edge of the rice paper and lettuce and start rolling up the spring roll. Once you have reached the shrimp, fold in the left and right sides. Finish rolling up the spring roll all the way to the end.
Repeat the rolling process with the rest of the ingredients. If the chopping board is looking dry, brush some water over the board.
Serve the spring rolls with the dipping sauce.

I know this is an awkward number for Persian cucumbers. However, they can be fairly small sometimes, so one will not be enough. Alternatively, you can use half of an English cucumber. Use the extra half cucumber for a salad or snack!
Remove the stiff stems of the butter lettuce so that the stem doesn’t pierce through the rice paper once the spring rolls are rolled up. You can also use green leaf lettuce as a substitute. I would only use the tops of the lettuce and cut off the stiff stem.
You can prepare the peanut sauce up to two days before, but the peanut sauce will become very thick in the refrigerator overnight. You can thin out the sauce with a little more water or heat it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
If you are using brown sugar, dilute the sugar in warm water so that it dissolves completely.
I like to prepare the sauce before making the spring rolls so that the flavors have a longer time to develop.
I usually cook the shrimp and noodles simultaneously, so I have 2 saucepans ready with boiling water.
If you are looking for more flavor inside the spring rolls, you can add a little hoisin or peanut sauce over the noodles and vegetables before you roll everything up.

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