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  Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

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Pickled Carrots
1 cup, finely julienne carrots (approx. 2-3 carrots)

1/2 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup rice wine vinegar

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, salt and vinegar. Microwave or warm until sugar dissolves. Pour over the carrots and allow to marinate at room temp for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and store in refrigerator.

Fish Sauce
for Spring Rolls
¼ cup fish sauce
2 tbs. chopped chives Juice of 2 limes
1 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. sweet chili sauce 1 tsp. grated ginger

Whisk all ingredients together, store in refrigerator. Fish sauce has a high sodium content, read the label when purchasing. Both it and the sweet chili sauce can be found in Asian markets.


Vietnamese cuisine features delicate and sophisticated flavors that have been influenced by China to the north, France to the west and India to the south. They have a long tradition of wrapping meat and snack mixtures in lettuce leaves, which also leads to fresh spring rolls that are rolled in rice wrappers – a round, translucent rice noodle that is soaked in warm water.

Different from egg rolls that are fried, spring rolls highlight fresh ingredients including shrimp or pork, lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, mint, chives and carrots. They’re essentially an easy to carry fresh herb salad which makes them the perfect snack or what is referred to as a merenda, a meal eaten mid-morning instead of breakfast.

Fresh Spring Rolls
12, 8-inch rice paper rounds
4 ounces, rice vermicelli
10 oz. cooked, peeled, de-veined shrimp,
   cut in half lengthwise
1 head of romaine lettuce
½ English cucumber, cut into ½ inch spears
1 bunch green onions, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
(Thai basil if you can find it)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup Vietnamese-style pickled carrots
 (recipe at right)

Bring water to a boil in a small stockpot, and boil rice vermicelli for 2-3 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water and set aside. In a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan, place 2-inches of hot water. Submerge one rice paper round at a time and soak for 2-3 minutes until soft and pliable. Remove to a wood cutting board and assemble spring roll starting with a layer of four to five shrimps (pink side down) then lettuce, cucumber, onions, fresh herbs and carrots. Fold-in ends of rice paper (optional) and roll tightly. To serve, cut in half and place on plate with tamari sauce or fish sauce (see right).

Copyright 2006.