Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese Spring Roll)
Spring rolls are my absolute favorite meal to eat (and make) of all time. Growing up, my family would set out all of the ingredients on different platters in a large spread, and we would sit around the table and roll our own spring rolls. I believe it is the best way to do it because no matter what, you always end up with more than enough to share!
I have made all types of spring rolls. Ihave used chicken, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, radish, avocado, and whatever fresh produce I could get my hands on. But the traditional way to make it is [simply] with (built from the bottom layer up) green leaf lettuce, vermicelli noodles with green onion topping, boiled pork, fresh mint, cucumber, and boiled shrimp (sliced in half lengthwise). Served with peanut butter dipping sauce.
1-2 bundles of vermicelli noodles:
Cook according to package instructions. Usually it's water at a boil for 8 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, rinse with warm/hot water, and rinse with cold water. This trick is something I read c/o Charles Phan and it prevents the noodles from sticking.
My favorite brand for noodles, rice paper, and rice flour is Three Ladies Brand which can apparently be found on Amazon or at your local Asian supermarket.
You can boil the shrimp first, remove with slotted spoon, and use the same water for the pork.
1 pound of shrimp peeled and deveined:
Drop in boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and set aside to cool.
1 pound of pork shoulder:
Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the whole pork shoulder in, bring back up to a boil and lower down to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take the pork shoulder out and let it rest for 5 minutes. If juices run clear, it should be all good. If not, put it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
For the green onion:
Slice green onion, heat olive oil (use just enough oil to coat the green onion all over) in a pan until barely smoking, pour over green onion. It's the best thing ever.
I have never developed a recipe for this sauce ever, and I don't think it needs one. It is all based on taste and preference. The amount pictured below is a half serving, so just double the amount pictured in the saucepan, plus 1 cup of water total. Ingredients (clockwise from the peanut butter) are as follows:
- JIF peanut butter
- Hoisin sauce
- Sambal Oelek
- Fish sauce (substitute soy sauce if you are vegetarian)
- Bonus: 2 garlic cloves, minced (add at the end)
Put everything in a saucepan on medium high heat, stirring often, until smooth and becomes the consistency pictured below. Taste and adjust flavors. More peanut butter if not peanut-y or thick enough. Hoisin to make it sweeter. Sambal if it needs more heat. Fish sauce (or soy sauce) for more umami. Lime juice for added acidity. Water to make it thinner.
Below is the process of rolling a spring roll plus the finished product! Hope you enjoy!