Friday, June 4, 2010

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

This is a continuation of my last post for Nuoc Cham or Vietnamese Dipping sauce. Like I said, today was a HOT HOT day. Man, just having the laptop on my lap for more than 5 minutes is killing me.

Anyway, like I said, hot food requires a special dinner menu - in this case, Vietnamese spring rolls. Trust a tropical people to know how to dine in heat. We actually have a few variations on it; for one thing, Mom insisted on stuffing in cilantro, which I know is not traditional. And for another, the basil at the market today looked half-dead, so we ended up not putting that in either. Fortunately, we grow our own mint in the backyard, so we have plenty of that.

I think half the magic of spring rolls is the fun you get making them together at the dinner table. Dad's spring rolls always look horrible, with the contents spilling out while he rolls them. Mom always manages to stuff everything in her mouth right before it explodes out of the skin, so it's funny watching her try to eat. I like to pride myself in the fact that mine are actually quite pretty - but then, I have a lot of practice making these for dinner during college.

Anyway, on a final note before I post the recipe, you can pretty much add anything you want in any amount you want. I'm going to omit amounts in the recipe, because really, it's up to you. You can add more or less of any of the following, depending on whatever you like or dislike more. So don't be constricted by my rules; BREAK FREE! And play around with your food :D

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


-Vietnamese Spring Roll wrappers (don't get the ones meant for frying!)
-Head of lettuce
-Mint leaves
-Basil leaves
-Pickled Carrots (or blanched, like what we did today) - cut in matchsticks
-1 pack Rice noodles
-Meat (optional) - we used leftover ham cut in matchsticks
-Jumbo Shrimp (get top quality - the bigger the better)
-Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (or Peanut sauce for a heavier meal)

1. Have ready all the ingredients arranged around a DRY plate and a shallow pan of water.
2. Dip a dry wrapper briefly into the water before spreading it out on the plate.
3. Arrange on the bottom half of the wrapper in the following order: shrimp, meat, noodles, carrots, herbs, and lettuce. This way, the pretty orange/pink of the shrimp shows through the wrapper and makes your spring roll aesthetically pleasing!
4. Wrap the roll like a burrito, folding the sides in as you wrap.
5. Dunk in the nuoc cham and eat!

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