Goi Cuon, or Vietnamese spring rolls, are a treat for your taste buds. They are packed with all the herbs, fresh veggies, sliced pork, and, let’s not forget, the juicy shrimp.
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These fresh ingredients wrapped in rice paper make an ultra combo with peanut dipping sauce. We were pleasantly surprised to find that these took less than an hour to prepare.
The traditional Vietnamese spring rolls can be your go-to cold snack in summer. They’re tasty, juicy, saucy, and above all, cold!
This step-by-step guide will provide you with an authentic recipe and answer all your questions related to these summer rolls.
The Chronicles of Goi Cuon
We all want to learn about the history of our favorite things, and when it comes to food, our urge becomes tenfold. The name “Goi Cuon” isn’t chosen at random; it means “fresh salad rolls” in Vietnamese.
There is a lot of fuss about where the recipe came from, but most sources attest that Southern Vietnam invented this recipe. It’s disappointing that we have to make them ourselves, while you can find them on every food stall in all streets of Vietnam. But let’s have a positive mindset and enjoy the joy of preparing food with our own hands. Such foods have a different fan base.
The recipe is long but not at all tricky. It’s a little time taking but worth every sweat. Although these are meant to be eaten as an appetizer, you won’t be able to keep your hands away once you taste them. There are two types of dipping sauce to accompany your spring rolls; peanut sauce and hoisin sauce. Make sure no one looks at the amount of sauce you eat.
What’s in Vietnamese Spring Rolls?
Gen Z likes to experiment with all fillings for spring rolls, but nothing comes close to the original ones. You can fill your rolls differently, but let’s stick to the traditional ingredients.
- Rice vermicelli
- Rice paper sheet
- Leafy greens
- Red leaf lettuce
- Boiled shrimp
- Pork slices
- Fresh herbs
Dip all these in the sauce and allow the fresh spring rolls to touch your soul.
Which Rice Paper Wrapper Is Best?
Typical Vietnamese rice paper has two ingredients only, i.e., rice and water. You can use it in a lot of different recipes. In the American region, tapioca flour is added to the recipe to keep the paper from tearing, but it’s best to stick with the ones made from rice flour only.
Five different brands top the thin and rice flour-only rice paper wrapper. Among them, Banh Trang tops the list. It is best to use the thinnest rice paper as it allows you to enjoy the flavor of the filling.
The best kind of rice paper is the one that is easy to chew. In Asian grocery stores, you will find rice paper from different countries. Make sure to read the ingredients before buying any.
The paper comes in different sizes; honestly, you can use any. But if you want to stick to the authentic way, go for the 22-centimeters (8.5 inches) ones. You get to stuff these properly and wrap them easily. You will find that just like brown rice, there exists brown rice paper. There’s no difference between the two except for the slightly different taste.
Getting the Best Quality Ingredients
The quality of the ingredients wrapped inside the rolls makes a big difference. To what extent the rice paper rolls turn out well depends on the quality of the ingredients you use. The meat has to be the most important ingredient, and this is where you’ll have to do the hunt. You can find other ingredients in the best shape at the nearest grocery store.
- Pork Belly
You can easily find thin and leaner pork as it is quite cheap. But since we have the right to decide what goes inside our rolls, who can stop us from using fattier pork? It’s juicy and, by fair means, far tastier. Using this kind of pork will take your fresh spring roll experience to a new level.
- Succulent Shrimp
The size of the shrimp makes a big difference. Medium-size shrimp works well, and by that, we mean 31/35. You can use different-sized shrimp, but keep in mind the size of the rice paper you are to use.
Making the best shrimp asks for a little effort. Deveining a shrimp can be easy or difficult, depending on how you do it. We suggest you use a toothpick to remove the vein. Keep in mind to defrost the shrimp before you devein it because 99% of the time, store-bought shrimp is frozen. The only way you get it fresh is when you catch it yourself. But there’s no issue with the frozen one. All you need to do is to soak it in warm water for a few minutes. You can then check and decide if it needs more time to defrost or is good to go.
- Rice Noodles
Things can get sticky, but not if you get your hands on bánh hỏi. Using this noodle is an Uno reverse you can play on your sticky noodles. But what is bánh hỏi?
These are no less than traditional rice noodles. The only difference is that these are in the form of sheets. Read the package’s instructions, boil them, rinse them with cold water, and cut them to the shape you want.
But if you can’t find these, there is no issue with using simple rice noodles. Just make sure you buy thin rice noodles. This way, they won’t overcome the taste of other ingredients.
- The Leafy Greens
Honestly, you can add any kind of fresh vegetables you want. But since we have decided to stick to the traditional Vietnamese spring rolls recipe, we will only add mint and green leaf lettuce. You can add chives and Thai basil, but they’re not a part of the original recipe.
Try getting fresh veggies the same day, as it’ll make the rolls taste extraordinary. You can wash them and allow them to dry naturally, but if you’re in a hurry, you can use a salad spinner.
Wrapping the Fresh Rolls
There are different ways to wrap the fresh spring rolls, and any method would work. No specific method is known as the best method. It all depends on what’s easy for you. We recommend you place a slightly wet paper towel on the counter you are rolling the rolls on.
Doing this will prevent the rice paper from sticking and tearing. You can use the rice paper water bowl if you want something fancy. It’s easier and less messy and allows you to work fast.
Tips on Preventing Rolls from Sticking
Make sure not to dip the rice paper for too long. It only takes around 2-3 seconds, and then you can place them on the counter or the surface you are rolling them on. Make sure to keep your ingredients ready and roll them fast. If you wait too long, the rice paper will become super sticky and might tear while you try to roll it.
When you place them in a dish one by one, make sure not to place them on top of each other. If you do so, the rice paper will stick, and your rolls will fall apart when you try to separate them. If you’re trying to pack them in a small container, try wrapping each roll in plastic. Wrapping each roll will prevent them from sticking, and keep your rolls in one place.
Dipping Sauce Tips
While preparing the dipping sauce, you can do a little extra to make it taste extra.
- Instead of chopping the garlic with a knife, pass it through a garlic press, and you’ll get smaller pieces. This way, you won’t get too much garlic in one place.
- The sauce thickens after cooling down a bit. Make sure not to overcook it, considering it’s too watery.
- What’s inside Goi Cuon?
Vietnamese spring rolls can be filled with several ingredients. The traditional recipe contains mint, leafy greens, vermicelli noodles, shrimp, and pork belly. But if you want you can add any kind of fresh vegetables to it. One of our favorites is adding cucumber and bean sprouts to the traditional fillings. But if it is your first time, we suggest sticking to the original recipe.
- Are there only two ingredients used to make rice paper?
Yes, rice paper is made from rice flour and water only. Some people might add a little tapioca flour to increase the elasticity. If you’re from the American region, you’ll come to know that most of the brands there use tapioca flour instead of rice flour.
- Can these be made ahead of time?
You can make these 2-3 hours before serving them. However, the right thing to do is to serve immediately. If you visit a Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll see that they make these fresh and not ahead of time.
Vietnamese Egg Rolls Recipe (Chả Giò)
- half medium-sized onion
- pork belly 1/2 pound
- sugar 1 tsp
- salt 1 tsp
- 31/35 shrimp 1/2 pound
- salt 1/4 tsp
Veggies and Noodles:
- mint 1/2 bunch
- chives 1/2 bunch
- green or red leaf lettuce one head
- rice paper 1/2 pack
- bánh hỏi or rice noodles 1/3 pack
For Peanut Dipping Sauce:
- minced garlic 2 tbsp
- water 1 cup
- peanut butter 3 tbsp
- hoisin sauce 8 tbsp
- crushed peanuts optional
- vegetable oil 2 tbsp
- First, we will cook pork. Add onion, sugar, salt, and pork in a small pot. Then add water till it covers 1 inch of the pot above the pork. Let it boil on high heat, gradually bring it down to medium-high heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the pork to a bowl and cover it. Give it a few minutes to cool down, then cut it into thin slices
- Place all your shrimp in warm water and allow them to defrost. Devein each shrimp.
- In a small pot, add shrimp, water, and salt. Let it boil for around 2-3 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
- Take off the tail and shrimp shells and cut them all in half.
- Read the package instructions and cook your rice noodles accordingly. Rinse the noodles with cold water.
- Wash and dry your vegetables in a salad spinner.
- Soak rice paper in warm water for 2-3 seconds, place it on a board or plate and start filling.
- Start with lettuce, chives, mint, and shrimp, and top it off with thin pieces of pork.
- Evenly spread the noodles over the other ingredients. Take the left and right sides of the rice paper and fold them over the fillings.
- Now take one end of rice paper and roll upwards. Repeat the process and serve the delicious rolls with peanut sauce.
Instructions Preparing Peanut Sauce
- Sauté minced garlic in oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Mix peanut butter, water, hoisin sauce, and ground peanuts (optional) and stir.
- Turn off the stove when it starts boiling. Pour the sauce into the serving bowl. Allow it to thicken as it cools.
- Add peanuts for decoration.
These Vietnamese spring rolls are favorite to many, with fresh vegetables, meats, and herbs filling and a delicious dip on the side. If it’s your first attempt at these at home, ensure to follow the tips for the best results. You can also experiment with different fillings and wraps to make your own version of the goi cuon rolls.