Vietnamese Rolls (gỏi cuốn)

Another cool summer eat is Vietnamese spring roll – the fresh herbs, cooling cucumber, crunchy fillings and tasty meat (we used pork)… AND the sauce! The name says it all, gỏi cuốn – literally means summer roll.

It’s quite different from the Filipino or Chinese spring roll that I’m used to; it’s fried or rolled fresh with flour wraps. And the ingredients are all chopped up and mixed together with crushed peanuts and sugar, and the sauce is quite sour-ish.

Actually, my first taste of Vietnamese roll was just a few months ago, with Royal Chef at Susu. There was a bowl of water (for the rice paper wrap) on our table and I asked Royal Chef is that for washing our hands? Errr…

So anyway, here’s the recipe for Vietnamese rolls. Royal Chef rates it 8 to 8.5 out of 10 stars! He is very pleased, though he said the sauce should have been a little bit sweeter (there’s a reason for that, read on).

PS. I did the cooking!!

For the grilled pork:

pork chops, loin, butt or shoulder. Sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onions, minced
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil (i used vegetable oil)

Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

1 cup (8 oz) hoisin sauce (if sauce is thick, add warm water to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 garlic, crushed
1 minced thai chili, or more for desired spiciness

*Hoi Sin sauce in Mandarin is hǎixiānjiàng 海鲜将 or seafood sauce.

For spring roll rice paper assembly:

Rice paper wrappers
Lettuce
Cucumber, cut into long slices
Fresh herbs: mint, cilantro, basil, coriander, balm or perilla
Bean sprouts

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients for the grilled pork. Let marinade for about 20 minutes. Grill both sides of pork for about 2-3 minutes, or until desired texture.
2. In blender, combine all ingredients for the hoisin peanut dipping sauce. Blend until everything combines smoothly together. If it is too thick, continue adding warm water until desired consistency.
3. In bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper for about 3-5 seconds (depending on rice paper thickness). Do not over soak your rice paper wrapper! Place on work service and allow rice paper to soak up water and become gelatinous and pliable (about 30 seconds to 1 minute, again, depending on the thickness rice paper).
Here, we just applied the “dip, roll and eat” – repeat until you’re full.
4. On top 1/3 side closest to you, lay lettuce on the bottom for added strength to the wrapper. Then place meat, herbs and other vegetables. Roll up spring roll about 1/3 way through, then fold in the sides.
5. Serve with hoisin peanut dip.

Grilled pork. This time the pork wasn’t hard, because I kept an eye on the timer! 2-3 minutes.

Hoi sin or haixian sauce. It didn’t have the consistency that we were expecting, so we’re still looking for another brand of haixian sauce (should be similar to Peking duck sauce).

And instead of peanut butter (since we have crunchy), I used sesame paste instead. In the end, Royal Chef put some of the crunchy peanut butter anyway. It worked, kinda.

Rice paper available at SanYuanLi market.

Rice paper texture.

Clockwise from top left: bowl of water, empty plate, pork chops, cabbage leaves, plate of: cucumber, sprouts, mint and cilantro, and the dipping sauce.

Contents of the roll on top of a wrapper.

Alien-looking but delicious!

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