Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vietnamese Spring Rolls in Translation

While teaching English as a Second language, my friend and student Mai, determined that I learn to make something Vietnamese, suggested I make spring rolls. She guaranteed that they were easy to throw together, especially since I would be making a vegetarian version. As with most "cooking" type things, I did not believe her. I tucked away her suggestion and then last weekend, on a whim, I decided to tackle the spring roll.


dry Rice wrapper (round)
shitake mushrooms
bean sprouts
rice noodles (thin)
really good soy sauce
sesame seed oil

For Dipping:

Spicy peanut sauce
Really good soy sauce
Plum sauce

First, bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles. Do not add the noodles yet.

While waiting for the water to boil, saute the shitake mushrooms with a little soy sauce and sesame oil put that aside to cool.

Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the noodles. keep stirring the noodles until they are soft- once soft drain the noodles and allow them to cool.

Julienne both the cucumber and the carrots.

Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water to rehydrate the dry rice wrappers. Take your first rice wrapper, while holding it, dip it into the bowl until it is soft, but not disintegrated.

Once the wrapper is moist, lay it down to begin adding the filling. I place them on a cutting board to make it easier to move around.

On one end, place some of the noodles, carrots, cucumber, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts and cilantro. Pull the end of the wrapper where you placed the filling over the filling completely.

Fold in each side of the wrapper to secure the filing and then roll away from you. The wrapper is sticky and will seal itself. Place on the side. Repeat these steps until you reach the number of rolls needed. You can keep the rolls cool in the refrigerator while finishing up the remaining rolls.

Toss cut scallions over the rolls as garnish.

Use one or all of the dipping sauces and enjoy.

Have you ever notice how much fun rolled foods are to eat?  There are burritos, tamales, egg rolls, spring rolls, etc. Anything that is self contained and easy clean up is alright by me. I also enjoy the versatility of these rolled foods. The fillings can be replaced, things can be added or removed, all giving a nice twist to the traditional.

Thanks Mai!