Gỏi cuốn – Vietnamese cold spring rolls

This was the dish that inspired me to test out some more Vietnamese recipes. I used to eat rice paper spring rolls pretty often as a kid, but I hadn’t had them in years until I tried one out in a cafe in Shoreditch last week. Basically, Vietnamese cold spring rolls are a way of disguising extremely healthy raw vegetables into something even more delicious. I served the ones I made this week with a dipping sauce of vinegar mixed with fish sauce.

I made this spring roll recipe with mint and shrimp, but you could also make it with cooked salmon and dill, or with tofu.

Jon’s Review: “I’m really surprised how well these ingredients all go together.”

Ingredients:

  • Cooked, peeled shrimp (about three per spring roll)
  • Vietnamese or Thai rice vermicilli, cooked
  • 1 package of rice paper for spring rolls (sold in most major grocery stores)
  • 1 head of lettuce, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, leaves removed.
  • fish sauce
  • white vinegar

Carefully slide one piece of dry rice paper wrapper on a plate, and run the plate under very hot water from the kitchen sink tap. The rice paper wrapper will change in texture, from firm and stiff to delicate and soft. Pour off water from the plate, and put aside.

On one end of the now soft rice paper, place a small mound of vermicilli, lettuce, carrots, shrimp, and mint. Sprinkle with vinegar and fish sauce. Very carefully and gently pick up one end of the rice paper, and wrap the spring roll tightly, as if you were making a burrito. Here is a picture, to help you get it right!

A half-way rolled spring roll.
A half-way rolled spring roll.

Serve with a dipping sauce of vinegar mixed with fish sauce. You can also fry a diced shallot until crispy in a frying pan, and sprinkle the crispy bits on top of the spring roll.

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