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Fresh Spring Roll, the Vietnamese Way

In my previous post, I mentioned loving “bun”, the Vietnamese noodle/vegetable dish and the fresh spring roll.  The roll is quite different from the Philippine version as the vegetables are not cooked at all.  Besides the vegetables , the roll is filled with thin slices of pork and pieces of shrimp.  The wrapper is quite different also from the lumpia wrapper.   It is sold dry and it has to be dipped in water before using. I have been wanting to make these rolls for a long time so with my leftover ingredients from my “bun” project, here is the result of my experimentation.

The first task is to put together your filling.

Makes 4

1/2 cup pork loin, cooked in 1/2  broth, 1/2 water for  30 minutes and sliced thinly

6 medium shrimp, cooked and sliced lengthwise, more if you want lots of  shrimp in your roll

1/4 cup rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 30 seconds and drained

4 lettuce leaves

4 pieces of basil leaves

4 pieces of garlic chives

4 pieces of rice paper

4 thin long slices of cucumber

Cilantro or mint leaves, opt

Assemble the ingredients .

Dip rice paper in water. Make sure the paper is wet thoroughly or it will be chewy.  Put the wet paper immediately on a kitchen towel (smooth side down).  It gets sticky and difficult to unpeel so put together your roll quickly.  And do not put it on top of a paper towel like I did the first time.  I could not unpeel the paper and had to throw it away.  Dip and roll one at a time.

Spread out the lettuce, top with vegetables and noodles on the end close to you. Spread out 3 pieces of shrimp and 2 slices pork in the middle and then chives on the end. Fold sides over and then roll.

Last task is to make the sauce or you can probably do this before making the rolls.

Peanut sauce for the spring rolls

2 tbsp. finely chopped white onion

2 small garlic clove, minced

2 tsp vegetable oil

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 hoisin sauce

1 tbsp. tomato ketchup

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. chili bean sauce (can be omitted, if not available); use 1/2 tsp pepper flakes or hot sauce instead)

2 tbsp. crushed peanuts

Cook onions in oil until soft.

Add and mix all ingredients.. Heat a few seconds. Add 2 tbsp. of water if too thick.

Sprinkle crushed peanuts on top.

Enjoy.  Kain na tayo.  Again.




Nelia Hostetter

Nel Hostetter was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in 1977. She spent over 20 years in the information technology field but left a management job in California in 2006 to go to culinary school in New York city. She owned Sweet Claire Bakery in downtown Bloomington for five years but moved her commercial kitchen to Spencer in 2015. She specializes in international bread and pastries and sells her baked goods at the Farmers’ Market in Bloomington. Nel’s recipes are influenced by her travels to other countries and a childhood filled with memories of food and cooking.

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