It’s Friday night and you’re planted on the couch, excited at the prospect of emptying your DVR, catching up on all your favorite shows that you didn’t have time to watch during the week. The doorbell rings. It’s the delivery man, and the chime signals the arrival of dinner from your generic catch-all Asian takeaway. For me, it’s all about the mu shu pork. Everytime. And what’s that on the side? Spring rolls, if you please.
Okay, so the little ditty above may be a bit dramatic and may have belabored the point I was trying to make about today’s bite: Vietnamese spring rolls, or gỏi cuốn. These rolls, which you have probably eaten more than once, are traditionally protein, vegetables, rice vermicelli, and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng (aka rice paper).
I’m not sure what I thought before, but these are SO easy to make. While pork and prawns are the norm, I had leftover beef from the pho so I just used that. The rice paper was definitely a new and interesting ingredient. It actually starts out hard until soaked in water. After that, I didn’t find them particularly hard to work with, thanks to some advice to roll these using a damp dish towel.
There’s this lovely site, White on Rice, that has all sorts of fun and delicious spring rolls ideas. BLT? I may be trying that one sooner rather than later. However, not today. Today’s recipe comes from Grape. Not sure where she got it, but it’s pretty consistent with all the traditional ones out there.
Cooked protein (shrimp, tofu, beef, chicken, whatever you fancy)
Lettuce (Bib or other)
I’m sorry, but I’m going to cheat and link up to a very thorough tutorial on how to roll spring rolls. It’s better to see it rather than have my try and describe it. Plus, their pictures are pretty. And helpful. Pretty helpful.
**I will say again that placing the rice paper on a damp towel really makes it easier to roll.**
Of course, no spring roll would be complete without a dipping sauce, and the one that Grape gave me was so good I wanted to eat it with a spoon by itself. Seriously, it was difficult to stop myself. Of course it all starts with peanut butter.
Because peanut butter is God’s food.
Peanut dipping sauce
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
1 tsp chili oil
2-3 tbsp sugar
Mix it all together. It is helpful to heat the peanut butter in the microwave to make blending easier.
Roll. Dip. Eat. Repeat.