These Vietnamese Spring Rolls are an insanely delicious flavor and texture explosion in every addictive bite!
These Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls make a fabulous light lunch, dinner or appetizer. They are packed with marinated veggies, juicy shrimp and rice vermicelli all dunked in out of this world Pineapple Hoisin Peanut Sauce. I’ve included all my tips and tricks and step by step photos (video coming soon) so you can be making these restaurant quality Fresh Spring Rolls like a pro!
Fresh Spring Rolls
Do you looooooove Vietnamese Spring Rolls?! They are also known as summer rolls, goi cuon, rice paper rolls and salad rolls, but by whatever name, they have long been a favorite order-every-time appetizer of mine so I am SO excited to be bringing them home to you!
These fresh spring rolls make a show stopping appetizer or healthy, light, refreshing lunch or dinner and you can prep all the ingredients ahead of time and just assemble when ready.
If you have never tried Vietnamese Spring Rolls, they are basically a fresh, bright textural and aromatic symphony of crunchy veggies, firm noodles, and plenty of fresh herbs all cocooned in a rice paper wrapper (more on the wrapper later). I’ve added shrimp to these spring rolls because – YUM – but feel free to leave it out.
You can also mix up the veggies, add avocado, mangoes, etc., but whatever you do, just make sure you have lots of crunch in your spring rolls – its all about the crunch.
WHERE DO SPRING ROLLS COME FROM?
Spring rolls are believed to have originated in China and are an appetizer staple in Asian cuisine. They are filled and rolled into a shape resembling a mini burrito. Their contents, and even their wrappings, vary their popularity is constant across all Asian restaurant menus!
As a celebration of winter ending and a decreased need for eating stored or preserved food, spring rolls are traditionally filled with fresh vegetables and served at spring festivals in China. Hence, the name!
This popular food item is also served in other Asian countries. Even Europe and Latin America serve versions of spring rolls in their restaurants. In Europe, they like to deep fry or even bake their spring rolls while in Southeast Asia (Indonesia or the Philippines), you’re more likely to find them served fresh. In India, spring rolls are typically served during Ramadan.
Just as the countries serving them vary in the way that they cook them, the fillings and the wrappers themselves are offered in a variety as well.
Spring ROLLS vs Egg Rolls
Spring Rolls and Egg Rolls are not the same thing. Spring rolls typically use spring roll wrappers or rice paper and are served fresh, but they can also be fried. Egg rolls are almost always fried and are made with a thicker flour-based wrapper, resembling more of a pastry skin.
What are Vietnamese spring rolls made of?
Vietnamese Spring rolls feature fresh spring vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, or bean sprouts. Really though, you can use whatever vegetables you’d like- or even add fruit! I like to use shrimp in my spring rolls but you may also use minced pieces of meat like pork or chicken.
One element of Vietnamese Spring Rolls you might not be familiar with is rice vermicelli. Rice vermicelli is a classic element in Vietnamese Spring Rolls and is also known as thin rice noodles or rice sticks.
Most importantly, these rice noodles can be found in the Asian section of almost every grocery store – so don’t be tempted to skip them! They truly MAKE these Fresh Spring Rolls in my opinion and they are super easy to prepare.
The other distinguishing factor of Vietnamese Spring Rolls is the rice paper. You will want to make sure you use rice paper and not wrappers made of wheat flour found in the freezer section that look like egg roll wrappers.
ARE SPRING ROLL WRAPPERS AND RICE PAPER THE SAME THING?
No they are not, so take care you purchase the correct wrapper for your spring rolls. They are both made from much of the same ingredients (rice flower and water), but they are used differently.
Spring roll wrappers are denser than rice paper. You have to add water to the corners of spring roll wrappers to get them to stick together. These wrappers look like large wonton wrappers and need to be baked or fried.
WHAT ARE FRESH SPRING ROLL WRAPPERS MADE OF?
The spring roll wrappers we want for this Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe is made out of rice paper. Rice paper comes in a firm disc that deceptively looks and feels like thin plastic but is actually mainly rice flour.
The wrappers are thin, clear and become translucent, brittle and will even fall apart when submerged in water if it isn’t removed quickly enough.
I purchased my rice paper wrappers from Amazon and they were perfection for these Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
HOW TO MAKE SPRING ROLLS
Step 1: Marinate Shrimp
Many Spring Roll recipes fall flat because although they are fresh, they rely solely on the Peanut Sauce for flavor – so the roll is just a bundle of veggies – might as well eat a veggie platter. But not these Vietnamese Spring Rolls!
I’ve concocted a Sweet Chili Marinade by whisking Asian sweet chili sauce, pineapple juice, honey, fish sauce, garlic powder and ginger together. We add a couple tablespoons of this dynamic marinade to everything – the veggies, the noodles, the shrimp, even the Pineapple Hoisin Peanut Sauce so every single element is infused with flavor and stand alone delicious. I had to pull myself away from eating all the shrimp or I wouldn’t have any left to make rolls with – everything is independently that good.
Step 2: Cook Shrimp
While on the subject of shrimp, you can totally leave it out, like I mentioned earlier, if you are not a shrimp fan/don’t have any on hand, but if you are a shrimp lover, you will loooove this juicy shrimp sauteed in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper then enveloped in some Sweet Chili Marinade – and it takes under 5 minutes to make!
After we saute our shrimp, we remove them to a cutting board and slice in half lengthwise. We want the shrimp nice and thin to stay proportional with the rest of the filling and so they will lay flat in the delicate wrapper.
Step 3: Rice Vermicelli
After we cook our shrimp, we use the same pan to boil some water then add our rice vermicelli and let it sit until al dente, 5-10 minutes (follow package directions). That’s it!
The only thing to be aware of is to not overcook the noodles because mushy noodles completely defeats their entire purpose. So just test a noodle every few minutes or so and you’ll be in perfect form.
Step 4: How to Dampen Rice Paper
The main mistake people make when using rice paper wrappers is soaking them too long – this will make them mushy, sticky, hard to work with and destined to tear.
Instead, we want to just dip the wrappers into the room temperature water for a few seconds, just long enough to soften slightly but still firm enough that they keep their shape when you remove them from the water – their edges shouldn’t be falling all over the place. It might take you 1-2 tries to perfect your timing and to get the feel of working with rice paper, but after that, it will be a breeze.
- Fill 9-inch pie plate with 1 inch warm temperature water.
- Dip one wrapper into the water for approximately 5 seconds to soften but still remain slightly firm but pliable.
- Lay rice paper flat on either a damp clean kitchen towel, ceramic, plastic, marble or nonstick mat. I don’t recommend wood as the wrappers tend to stick to it.
How to Assemble Spring Rolls
There is no right or wrong way to assemble/layer your Vietnamese Spring Rolls but I find it easiest (and prettiest) to first place the Boston lettuce leaf half in the center of the wrapper then top with the rice vermicelli, veggies, cilantro, mint and basil.
Be careful not to overstuff the roll as it will make it harder to roll and more likely to tear. After you make a roll or two, you’ll get the hang of how much filling to add.
Next we line 3 pieces shrimp halves in a row next to the filling to ensure they show up on the outside of the spring roll. I like to then add 2 basil or mint leaves in between the shrimp as pictured, but this is purely decorative.
How to Roll Spring Rolls
Roll up spring roll wrappers carefully and tightly like you would a burrito. Starting with the side away from the shrimp, gently pull the bottom of the roll over the first row of filling then fold in the sides and continue to roll. Repeat process until all spring rolls are assembled.
Peanut Sauce For Spring Rolls
Vietnamese Spring Rolls wouldn’t be complete without the delectable peanut sauce! I’ve amped up traditional peanut sauce to create Pineapple Hoisin Peanut Sauce is eat-it-with-a-spoon deeeeeeeeelish. It truly is phenomenal and super easy to make.
To make the peanut sauce, simply whisk together a couple tablespoons of your Sweet Chili Marinade, hoisin sauce (like Asian BBQ Sauce, found in the Asian section of your grocery store), pineapple juice and peanut butter then simmer until peanut butter is melted and the sauce is sightly thickened.
Most Vietnamese Peanut Sauces use water to thin and vinegar for a bit of tang but by adding pineapple juice we achieve both and superior flavor.
HOW DO YOU KEEP SPRING ROLLS FRESH?
The best way to keep spring rolls fresh is by serving them right after making them or consuming within a few hours. If you need to make them in advance, then I suggest prepping all the elements like the shrimp and veggies then assembling as close to serving as possible.
HOW DO I STORE Vietnamese SPRING ROLLS?
Tightly wrap each one spring roll in plastic wrap immediately after assembling then place all of the spring rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend lining them on a plate and covering with plastic wrap because they will stick to each other, won’t keep their shape as well and can dry out easier.
How long do Vietnamese spring rolls last?
When properly wrapped and refrigerated, Vietnamese Spring rolls will last up to two days but are best if consumed within six hours. Be aware that the spring roll wrappers will not taste as fresh and might even get a little rubbery when refrigerated for longer than six hours.
CAN I FREEZE SPRING ROLLS?
No, I don’t recommend freezing spring rolls made with rice paper wrappers. Rice paper is very temperamental and will get soggy and even tear after freezing and defrosting. The rice vermicelli does not freeze well either and will become a funny texture.
ARE SPRING ROLLS BAD FOR YOU?
Spring rolls are one of those accidentally healthy appetizers or meals. Their stuffed with veggies, sautéed shrimp or protein and served in fresh rice paper wrappers that are dipped in water and not fried.
So now that I’ve written an essay on How to Make Spring Rolls, I hope you try them! You will NOT be disappointed. They are worth every ingredient and every step for OVER THE TOP YUM!
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