Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls
Packed with herbs, vegetables and shrimp, nothing beats a fresh Vietnamese-style summer roll. Make them for a healthy snack, fill up on them for dinner, or add the spring rolls to your deep-fried, cheese-laden line up for a refreshing appetizer on game day. I use a classic combination of rice noodles, cucumber, carrot, herbs and shrimp, but feel free to get creative with the fillings. Serve with my sesame-lime dipping sauce.
Fresh Vietnamese-Style Spring Rolls with Shrimp
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fish sauce, or more to taste
- Juice of 2 limes or to taste
- 1 fresh red chile, minced (use a hot one!)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and ground
- 3 tablespoons scallions, minced
- 1 head romaine lettuce, julienned
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 8 ounces fresh bean sprouts
- 4 tablespoons peanuts, toasted and ground
- 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 2 cups rice stick noodles, cooked and cooled
- 1 pound cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
- Fresh chives, cut an inch longer than the width of your final rolls
- 8-inch Banh Trang rice paper sheets
First, make the dipping sauce. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small pan, cool. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, chiles, ground sesame seeds and scallions. Reserve.
Next, prepare all of your spring roll stuffings. Julienne the lettuce. Pull leaves from mint and cilantro. Wash and dry the bean sprouts. Toast and grind the peanuts. Julienne the cucumber and carrots. Cook the rice stick noodle according to the directions on the package. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. And finally, place all of the fillings on a tray, so it’s easy to grab them while you make your spring rolls.
Dip rice paper sheets one at a time in a pan of hot water (a pie tin works well), until soft. This will take 6-10 seconds.
Place refreshed rice paper on a work surface covered with a damp towel in front of you. Place a small portion of lettuce on the bottom third of the sheet, along with a few herb leaves, a pinch of ground peanuts, a scattering of sprouts, a couple pieces of julienned carrot and cucumber, and 2 tablespoons of the cooked rice noodle.
Roll, burrito style, top to bottom, folding in the sides of the rice paper as you roll.
Add the halved shrimp cut side down, after you’ve made the first rolling motion so when they are served you can see them through the translucent skins. Add a few chives at this point (they should be cut so they extend over the edges). Keep rolling the wrapper in a cylinder until it is sealed.
Serve with the dipping sauce.
Photographs by Madeleine Hill.