An Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe

There are hundreds recipes for Vietnamese spring roll out there – but I would like to share a delicious and authentic recipe, and perfect technique by Vietnamese street vendors in Saigon, Vietnam, where the dish originated from. This is the result of many times buying, eating and observing my beloved street vendor making spring rolls. Try this authentic Vietnamese spring roll recipe and spend only 2 minutes per roll to make a wonderful dish.

What is Vietnamese Spring Roll

Actually, I also don’t know why it is called “Spring roll” in English. In Vietnamese, its name is “Gỏi cuốn”, which can be roughly translated to “Salad Roll”. However, it’s in fact not salad, too! Vietnamese spring roll includes lettuce, herbs, shrimp, pork belly, and vermicelli rolled in a rice paper. While vegetables and meat are indeed the key elements for salad or “gỏi”, we never add vermicelli in. Finally, I accepted the name “Gỏi cuốn” in Vietnamese and “Spring Roll” in English without exploring why, since its popularity could define what it is.

Derived from the south of Vietnam and became popular especially in Saigon, Spring Rolls nowadays are served everywhere, from small street talls on pavements to luxury restaurants. Vietnamese spring rolls were meant to be just an appetizer or an afternoon meal and never a full meal; however, young Vietnamese people can eat 5-10 spring rolls as a time and consider them an official meal.

Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe

What’s Inside an Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll?

As mentioned above, the authentic recipe of Vietnamese Spring Roll contains rice paper, lettuce, herbs, shrimp, pork belly, and vermicelli. Let’s take a closer look at the components that make these rolls a flavorful and refreshing delight:

Rice Papers

Rice paper wrap all other ingredients and makes the name “rolls” for the dish. It’s a translucent, circular sheets made from rice flour, tapioca starch, water, and salt. They are slightly stiff when dry but become pliable and translucent when soaked in a bit of water.

You can buy rice papers in supermarket and every Asian food stores, as this is one of the most famous dish in Asia. Pay attention to choose the right shapes for spring rolls: a round or square rice paper sheet, not a small triangle one.

Vegetables: Lettuces and Herbs

Fresh vegetable infuses the rolls with their vibrant aroma and flavor, and balance the taste between vegetables, protein and starch. Commonly used vegetables include lettuce and herbs (Thai basil, mint, chive, etc). You can opt for lettuce only if you don’t have any herb in hand, it’s totally fine.

Protein: Pork Belly and Shrimp

Vietnamese Spring Rolls can include a variety of proteins to suit different tastes. Shrimp, thinly sliced pork, grilled chicken, or tofu are popular choices. These proteins add a savory element to the rolls and can be customized to cater to various dietary preferences.

In this Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe, I followed exactly what I learned from street vendors: a half of a shrimp and a thin slice of pork belly per roll. That’s enough protein with various taste and the best appearance. Besides, you can also customize it into 2 halves of a shirmp or 2 slices of pork belly in a rolls.

Rice Vermicelli

Rice vermicelli, also known as rice sticks or rice noodles, are another integral component. This is the ingredient that set the dish apart from salad (gỏi): there is never a piece of vermicelli in any of Vietnamese salad. These thin, translucent noodles are soft and chewy and provide a satisfying texture to the rolls.

Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
All ingredients for an authentic Vietnamese spring roll version

Dipping Sauces

Dipping sauces play a crucial role in enhancing the flavors of gỏi cuốn. Vietnamese fermented anchovy dipping sauce, hoisin & peanut sauce, or sweet chili dipping sauce are commonly served alongside the rolls. The street vendors usually offer 2 sauces, Vietnamese fermented anchovy dipping sauce, hoisin & peanut sauce.

However, in this recipe, I opt for sweet chili sauce, the convenient and easy-to-eat sauce that you can buy everywhere. The fermented anchovy dipping sauce (mắm nêm) smells even more strongly than fish sauce; and hoisin sauce to make hoisin & peanut sauce are also quite difficult to buy in some regions.

Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe

Ingredients

For 10 Spring Rolls, you will need:

  • 5 big shrimps
  • 10 thin slices of pork belly (around 120g 4.2 oz)
  • 120g (1/2 cup or 4.2 oz) dry vermicelli or 250g (3.5 cups) cooked vermicelli
  • 10 rice paper sheets
  • 150g lettuces and herbs

For sweet chili dipping sauce, easily buy a bottle in your nearby supermarket. If you would like to make hoisin and peanut sauce, prepare these ingredients:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) hoisin sauce
  • 15g (1 tbsp) peanut butter
  • 120g (1/2 cup) water
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 sliced shallots, 1 chilli, 1 tbsp of slightly crush peanuts.

Instruction

Step 1. Preparation

Firstly, you need to prepare your ingredients. Boil the dry vermicelli, pork belly and shrimp. Prepare two stoves, one for vermicelli and one for pork belly and shrimp and cook them simultaneously.

With shrimp, in case you you use fresh shrimp, you will need to clean and devein it. I used to share how to clean shrimp in Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake recipe, it’s not too hard. Just rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impuritie. Make a shallow incision along the back of each shrimp to remove the vein with a knife or your fingers. If there are frozen shrimps, rinse them and directly drop them to the pot.

To boil vermicelli quickly, add dry vermicelli directly to a pot of water and start to heat them under high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, wait for for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Soak vermicelli in boiled water for 5 minutes more, then drain all hot water and rinse under cool water. Finally, remove it from water and drain using strainer. Total time for this step is 15 minutes.

Next, wash your vegetables. Wash them carefully and gently not to them so much. Drain them for a while while you continue to prepare the protein.

While you deal with vermicelli and vegetables, the protein is cooked. Also rinse them under cool water and start to slice the pork belly as well as shrimp. Thinly slice the pork belly. Cut a shrimp vetically into 2 pieces (image below).

Shrimp for Spring Roll

Now you have all ingredients in hands, ready for rolling in rice papers. Bring them to a table with a cutting board and rice papers.

Step 2. Assembling the Spring Rolls

Follow the guide carefully and you can make Authentic Vietnamese Spring Rolls really quickly and beautifully:

  • Spray water on both surfaces of a rice paper. If you don’t have a sprayer at home, quickly dip the paper into a plate of water.
Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
  • Lay the ingredients on rice paper following the order: lettuce and herbs (beautiful side down), vermicelli on the lettuce, a slice of pork belly and a half of a shrimp.
Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
  • Fold 3 sides of the paper over the filling, left, right and bottom. Then, gently roll it up, starting from the bottom, to form a tight cylinder. Lay your hand like the image below, and roll it tightly to have the perfect shape.
Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
  • Place the finished roll seam-side down on a serving platter. The final look should be even, showing the protein above vermicelli and lettuce.
  • Repeat the process for each spring roll, adjusting the filling ingredients according to your preferences.

Step 3. Making hoisin and peanut dipping sauce

Follow these steps to make hoisin and peanut dipping sauce:

  • Heat a pan on the stove and add cooking oil. Add slices shallots and sauté until fragrant.
  • One the onion turns yellow, add to the pan: hoisin sauce, peanut butter, water and bring it to a boil.
  • Season with sugar and fish sauce. Then, turn off the heat.
  • Ladle the dipping sauce into a bowl, garnish with chopped chili and roasted peanuts.

Dipping sauce made from black bean sauce is suitable for most types of spring rolls. If you’re making vegetarian spring rolls, you can use soy sauce instead of fish sauce.

Tips and tricks for perfect Spring Rolls

It can make you feel difficult for the first rolls, but don’t worry, practice makes perfect. Note these tips to perfect your skills quickly.

Roll Tightly: Roll the spring rolls tightly but gently. This ensures that they hold their shape and don’t fall apart when you pick them up, as well as you don’t tear the rice paper while rolling.

Properly Soak the Rice Paper Wrappers: When soaking rice papers, make sure not to over-soak them. They should be pliable but still slightly firm when you remove them from the water. They will continue to soften as you assemble the rolls. It’s better to use a sprayer.

Layer Ingredients in order: Assemble your gỏi cuốn by layering the ingredients strictly in order. Start with lettuce and herbs (beautiful side down), vermicelli on the lettuce, a slice of pork belly and a half of a shrimp above the lettuce.

Don’t Overstuff: Avoid overfilling your Spring Rolls. Overstuffing can make it challenging to roll the wrapper tightly and may lead to tearing.

Serve Immediately: Vietnamese spring rolls are best enjoyed fresh. Serve them immediately after assembly to savor their full flavor and texture. If you would like to store them in longer period, use plastic wrap and wrap each spring rolls separately, one by one. It is to avoid the stickness between each roll and keep the moisture of rice papers.

With all the tips and tricks above, I’m sure you can make the most beautiful spring rolls at home. Give it a try and share your experiences in the comment!

FAQ

Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe

Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe

Yield: 10 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Try this authentic Vietnamese spring roll recipe and spend only 2 minutes per a roll to make a wonderful dish.

Ingredients

Vietnamese Spring Roll

Dipping sauce: Hoisin or Peanut Sauce

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • With shrimp, in case you you use fresh shrimp, rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impuritie. Make a shallow incision along the back of each shrimp to remove the vein with a knife or your fingers. If there are frozen shrimps, rinse them and directly drop them to the pot. Authentic Vietnamese Spring Roll Recipe
  • To boil vermicelli quickly, add dry vermicelli directly to a pot of water and start to heat them under high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, wait for for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Soak vermicelli in boiled water for 5 minutes more, then drain all hot water and rinse under cool water. Finally, remove it from water and drain using strainer. Total time for this step is 15 minutes.
  • Next, wash your vegetables. Wash them carefully and gently not to them so much. Drain them for a while while you continue to prepare the protein.
  • While you deal with vermicelli and vegetables, the protein is cooked. Also rinse them under cool water and start to slice the pork belly as well as shrimp. Thinly slice the pork belly. Cut a shrimp vetically into 2 pieces (image below). authentic-vietnamese-spring-roll-recipe

Step 2. Assembling the Spring Rolls

  • Spray water on both surfaces of a rice paper. If you don't have a sprayer at home, quickly dip the paper into a plate of water.authentic-vietnamese-spring-roll-recipe
  • Lay the ingredients on rice paper following the order: lettuce and herbs (beautiful side down), vermicelli on the lettuce, a slice of pork belly and a half of a shrimp.authentic-vietnamese-spring-roll-recipe
  • Fold 3 sides of the paper over the filling, left, right and bottom. Then, gently roll it up, starting from the bottom, to form a tight cylinder. Lay your hand like the image below, and roll it tightly to have the perfect shape.authentic-vietnamese-spring-roll-recipe
  • Place the finished roll seam-side down on a serving platter. The final look should be even, showing the protein above vermicelli and lettuce.
  • Repeat the process for each spring roll, adjusting the filling ingredients according to your preferences.

Step 3. Making hoisin and peanut dipping sauce

  • Heat a pan on the stove and add cooking oil. Add slices shallots and sauté until fragrant.
  • One the onion turns yellow, add to the pan: hoisin sauce, peanut butter, water and bring it to a boil.
  • Season with sugar and fish sauce. Then, turn off the heat.
  • Ladle the dipping sauce into a bowl, garnish with chopped chili and roasted peanuts.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 5gCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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Other Recipes with Shrimp/ Pork Belly/ Rice Paper

Shrimps:

Pork Belly:

Rice paper:

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