I spent a wonderful day out and about town with my house guest yesterday. For lunch we stopped by our regular Vietnamese restaurant for a steaming bowl of pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup). The noodles were delicious and they came in huge bowls. Instead of busting our diet in a day, we decided to save the spring rolls for the next day by making them ourselves at home. They are relatively easy to make and are perfect for a light and healthy lunch. With a Vietnamese grocery store conveniently located just down the street from the restaurant, we drove by after lunch to pick up the necessary ingredients.
As I did not make a shopping list, I forgot two things that I normally put in my version of these spring rolls. I forgot the mint leaves which I had to leave out altogether and the cucumber which I substituted with blanched zucchinis. Though the rice noodles in Vietnamese spring rolls are normally left plain, I prefer to flavor them lightly with salt, pepper, ad sesame oil to make it tasty for kids who usually do not use dips with their rolls. I also left out the fish sauce for the dip but feel free to add some if you prefer.
Here is what you will need to put these together…..
- 24 medium sized shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 4 oz thin rice noodles, soaked
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 12 round 8.5-inch diameter rice wrappers
- 6 sprigs Thai basil, stems removed
- 12 small Romaine lettuce leaves, stem removed
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1 small cucumber, julienned
- ¼ cup garlic chili sauce
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Lightly salt the water. Add shrimps and cook for about 2 minutes or until shrimps curl and turn pink. Remove and drain. Add rice noodles and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain. Toss noodles with salt, pepper, and sesame oil.
Slice shrimps into half lengthwise but not all the way, leaving the last ½ inch of tail end uncut.
This allows shrimp to be splayed so that it is easier for it to be rolled in wrapper.
Combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Fill a large shallow bowl with warm water. Dip one rice wrapper into warm water and remove quickly. Lay wrapper on a cutting board. Rice wrapper will soften. Place 3 to 4 basil leaves about 1/3 way from the edge. On top of basil, place one lettuce, 3 to 4 strips julienned carrots and cucumber, a small amount of rice noodles, and another 3 to 4 basil leaves followed by 2 full shrimps.
Fold wrapper onto shrimp, roll so that the basil at the bottom is now on top. Fold in sides and finish rolling. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Slice roll diagonally in half and serve with dipping sauce.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!