Vietnamese spring rolls

Dipping Sauce

Tangy sauces usually combines these tastes:

Something sour: rice vinegar or lime juice
Something sweet: sugar or hoisin sauce
Something hot: red chilis or chili paste
Something for flavor: peanuts or garlic or shallots or fish sauce

There’s nothing like the light crunchy taste of Vietnamese spring rolls, stuffed with fresh  things from the garden and dipped in a spicy sauce. Low calorie and nutritious, this Asian dish has become a favorite with Westerners.

Culinary Vietnam
Daniel Hoyer.
Layton, Utah : Gibbs Smith, c2009.
Vietnamese cuisine has developed over thousands of years with countless influences from other cultures. Full of authentic recipes, Culinary Vietnam teaches how the aspects of flavor, aroma, texture, color, contrast, balance, and even the sound a food makes should be taken into consideration in the planning of a Vietnamese meal. Author Daniel Hoyer opens the door into the world of Vietnamese cooking methods and theories, as well as to the background of the cuisine, and gives some historical and cultural tidbits, all while showing just the breadth of this simple, agriculturally based cuisine.
Vietnamese fusion : vegetarian cuisine
Chat Mingkwan.
Summertown, Tenn. : Book Pub., c2007.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 148-149) and index.
Into the Vietnamese kitchen : treasured foodways, modern flavors
Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen ; foreword by Bruce Cost ; photography by Leigh Beisch.
Berkeley, CA : Ten Speed Press, c2006.
This landmark collection of more than 175 classic Vietnamese recipes, framed by stories of one family's home kitchen and a wealth of information on the regional cuisines, essential ingredients, and culinary traditions of the country is illustrated with more than 50 stunning color photographs.
Quick & easy Vietnamese : 75 everyday recipes
by Nancie McDermott ; photographs by Caren Alpert.
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c2006.
  1. Map on inside front cover.
  2. Includes bibliographical references (p. 163) and index.

The main ingredient for spring rolls is rice paper wrappers all ready to roll. Wrappers are made from white rice powder that is mixed with tapioca flour to make the rice into a glutinous, smooth batter. The thin batter is spread evenly on conveyor belts, steamed, and then transferred onto long rectangular bamboo frames. The lengths of rice paper are then sun-dried and ventilated. Finally the rice paper is cut into circles. These are available at most grocery stores.

A variety of fillings taste good in spring rolls. Both vegetarian rolls and those with meat are popular. These ingredients work especially well and can be combined in several ways:

  • Ground pork browned with ginger, onion, and garlic
  • Shredded carrots
  • Matchstick cucumbers, zucchini, or red peppers
  • Cubed tofu, lightly sautéed in sesame oil
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, mint, and Thai basil
  • Chopped shallots and diced green onions
  • Chopped cooked shrimp
  • Shredded or whole lettuce leaves
  • Vermicelli rice noodles

To complete the roll, soak the rice wrapper in warm water for five minutes. Lay it out flat, placing a layered mix of ingredients in the bottom third. Roll it once, fold over each side, and complete the roll.

Now, dip and enjoy!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff