Healthy, refreshing and delicious Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Sauce
I love serving Vietnamese rolls, DIY style with family or when friends come over. It makes a fun social dining activity. Unfortunately rolling their own food was not some people’s idea of fun when I serve them at a bloggers potluck 2 months back. Upon request, I rolled 12 of them leisurely while waiting for the rest to arrive.
Some people call this summer roll, salad roll, or Vietnamese fresh spring roll. It’s gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese. The literally translation is salad (gỏi) roll (cuốn). Whatever you call them, they are light, refreshing and delicious. You can also do a variation with any salad ingredients. Most restaurants serve rolls with nước chấm, a fish sauce based dipping sauce (my favourite) but it’s pretty common in Vietnam to have it with a spicy peanut Hoisin sauce.
The potluck was the 1st time I attempted the common shrimp and pork recipe that most Viet people make (I only used poached shrimp). My go-to recipe is usually Grilled Lemongrass Beef with nước chấm which I learnt from a Vietnamese friend’s mother years ago. The peanut hoisin sauce definitely complements the shrimp roll, as the roll itself is quite bland compared to flavour-packed grilled lemongrass beef. The sauce is a simplified version using peanut butter. The traditional Vietnamese peanut sauce (nước lèo) is made with liver. The rolls are served as appetizers but I could happily chomp down a couple of rolls as my main meal.
You can wrap the rolls like a spring roll/burrito (closed ended), open ended with protruding veggies, or half closed. 1. Quickly dip and spin a piece of rice paper in a bowl of warm water; make sure to wet the entire piece.
2. Lay the wet rice paper down on a cutting board or big plate.
3. Place a lettuce leaf on the end of the rice paper nearer to you. Add rice noodles, 2-3 leaves of each herb, carrot and cucumber evenly across the lettuce.
4. Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Add 2-3 shrimp with the sliced side facing up.
5. Fold the sides inwards and add a chive over shrimp with 1 inch sticking outside of a folded side.
6. Continue rolling while keeping tension on the rice paper for a tight roll. The roll will seal itself.
7. Serve with nước lèo.
Hoisin Sauce from Scratch
As usual, I like to make recipes from scratch. Ahem.. however I had never tried hoisin sauce before and I’m not going to buy a jar just to have a teaspoon of test taste. With all asian ingredients available in my fridge, I made the sauce in 5 minutes. Pretty handy recipe to have if you just need a couple of tablespoons for a recipe. Taste test approved by Jennifer of ChasingFoodDreams.
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 30 large Shrimp - peeled and deveined
- 100g (8 oz) thin Rice Vermicelli Noodles
- 1 head Butter Lettuce - washed and ribs removed
- 1 bunch Thai Basil Leaves - removed from stems
- 1 bunch Mint Leaves - removed from stems
- 1 bunch Cilantro (Coriander) Leaves - removed from stems
- 1 Carrot - thinly sliced
- 1 Japanese Cucumber - seeded & thinly sliced
- 12 Garlic Chives or Chinese Chives
- 1 packet 8” Rice Paper (Bánh Tráng)
- Soak the rice vermicelli noodles in hot water for 5 mins.
- Place a small pot half-filled with water and bring to boil with salt. Add the shrimp, reduce heat to simmer for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the shrimp with slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Reserve 1 cup of the stock to make peanut Hoisin sauce.
- In the same pot, cook the soaked rice vermicelli noodles on simmer for 1-2 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
- Lay shrimp flat and cut in half horizontally.
- To roll, fill a large shallow bowl with warm water and quickly dip and spin a piece of rice paper into water; make sure to wet the entire piece. Lay it down on a cutting board. Place a lettuce leaf on the end of the rice paper nearer to you. Add rice noodles, herb leaves (2-3 leaves of each herb), and cucumber evenly across the lettuce.
- Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Add 2-3 shrimp with the sliced side facing up. Fold the sides inwards and add a chive over shrimp with 1 inch sticking outside of a folded side. Continue rolling while keeping tension on the rice paper for a tight roll. The roll will seal itself.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 until shrimp are finished off. Serve with peanut Hoisin dipping sauce.
- Makes 10 - 12 rolls to serve 4 to 6 pax as an appetizer
- Whisk all the ingredients (except roasted peanuts) in a small pot, and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes until it thickens. Add additional peanut butter until desired thickness is obtained. Adjust seasonings to taste with additonal hoisin sauce. The sauce has a thick consistency after cooled down.
- Garnish sauce with chopped peanuts. Makes ¾ cup of sauce
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Whisk in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Let the sauce cool before using. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.