I love Vietnamese food. I had never really tasted it until we went to Vietnam a few years ago. I was stunned at how easy it was to eat as a vegetarian there and the food was always delicious and fresh. I always had banana pancakes for breakfast (which were nothing like pancakes here) and I still smile thinking back to the bowls of vegetarian pho I managed to find. Now that I think about it, while we were there we never even had any of these spring rolls. We were being very careful in terms of eating any raw vegetables so this is something we would have avoided; however, we moved to Vancouver soon after being in Vietnam and I could easily enjoy them there.
The first time I made these spring rolls, I wasn’t really sure how they would turn out, especially in terms of the texture of the wrapper. I didn’t know whether I could replicate the chewy, deliciousness that they always had. Luckily there was really nothing special that I had to do to replicate it, it’s just how the wrappers taste after soaking them, so these are so easy to perfect at home.
I have made these with a bunch of different fillings. You can easily add shrimp as protein, thai basil instead of the mint, or some mango for extra sweetness. The wrappers are a little finicky but as long as you don’t soak them in the hot water too long (just 20-30 seconds, as they start to become soft, they will continue to soften out of the water) or overfill them, it’s pretty easy to get a hang of. I always make these with a soy base sauce as well as a spicy peanut one. It’s really a great appetizer or light dinner.
These spring rolls are very versatile. You can add mango, shrimp or thai basil, the possibilities are really endless. The only tricky part is rolling the rolls themselves. The best thing to keep in mind is to not let the rice paper rolls get too soft in the hot water. If you pull them out right before they soften completely it will be a lot easier to handle and they will soften a little once out of the water so there is no problem there.
Also, don't overstuff your rolls- they shouldn't be more than half full. If they are, it makes it a lot harder and messier to assemble. After a few of them you should get the hang of it.
These go great with a spicy peanut sauce as well.
Cut your cucumber and carrot into matchsticks and set aside on a large plate.
Roughly chop your peanuts and mint leaves and set aside on your large plate.
Heat up a large skillet with canola oil. Season your tofu on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes per side). Slice tofu into matchsticks (about 1/4 inch wide). Cook mushrooms in leftover oil with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook vermicelli noodles. They only take 2-3 minutes to cook. Once cooked, make sure to rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Fill a medium sized bowl with hot water (no need to boil the water, you should be able to put your hands in it comfortably).
Have a large plate ready. Place one rice paper wrapper into the warm water until it starts to soften, about 20-30 seconds. Remove from water and lay flat on plate. Fill your rice paper roll with all of the filling ingerdients. Make sure not to overstuff it or it will be very tricky to roll, it shouldn't be more than half full.
Roll your rice paper wrapper and continue until you run out of filling.
In a small bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
Vietnamese spring rolls Recipe was last modified: July 4, 2013 by