Fresh shrimp spring rolls with a delicious peanut dipping sauce. Each roll is filled with healthy crisp vegetables, rice noodles, seafood, and herbs. Impress family and friends with this easy appetizer!
Dip, chomp, crunch, eat, repeat! Fresh spring rolls are one of the easiest types of Vietnamese food to recreate at home. It’s a healthy seafood and vegetable appetizer encased in a delicate translucent rice paper wrapper.
The trick is mastering how long to soak the spring roll wrappers, to make the rolling process a breeze. But, it only takes a few seconds, so make sure that all of the filling ingredients are prepped first for an easy assembly process.
For traditional Vietnamese spring rolls, use a combination of crisp lettuce, shredded carrots, thinly sliced red cabbage and bean sprouts paired with the shrimp. Vermicelli rice noodles (Amazon link) also make each roll a little more hearty, yet still light.
I also add two to three pieces of fresh herbs like mint and cilantro for herbaceous notes with each bite. Don’t overfill the wrappers or wrap them too tight or they may break.
Preparing the shrimp
Buy the shrimp pre-cooked or simply blanch them in boiling water for about 1 to 2 minutes until they are pink and opaque. I recommend using the 16/20 count (extra jumbo) size and a white or pink type of shrimp. Cut them in half lengthwise so they’re easier to lay flat in the roll.
Using rice paper wrappers
Vietnamese spring roll paper wrappers (Amazon link) are like magic! You can buy them at most major grocery stores or Asian markets. They are very thin, dry translucent circular sheets made from rice. They measure close to 9-inches (22 cm) wide and can be filled with anything your heart desires.
How to make Vietnamese spring rolls
- Boil the rice noodles, rinse with cold water, drain, and refrigerate.
- Blanch the shrimp in hot water, chill, and then cut in half.
- Place a damp kitchen towel or paper towel on a cutting board.
- Fill a large bowl or pie dish with cool water.
- Dip one rice paper wrapper in the water for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Lay wrapper on the dampened towel.
- Add lettuce, rice noodles, carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts in the bottom third of the wrapper.
- Roll halfway up into a cylinder, then fold in the sides.
- Lay mint, parsley and two shrimp halves on top.
- Roll into a tight cylinder to seal.
Simply dip one sheet in water for about 15 to 20 seconds, lay it on a damp towel (so it doesn’t stick) when filling and rolling. By the time you’re done adding the ingredients, the wrapper turns from rigid to flexible.
If you find that the wrappers start to get really sticky, just dip your fingers in water and use them to help separate the clingy areas.
Peanut dipping sauce
A sweet and savory peanut sauce is a must-have for these rolls. It’s a super simple blend of hoisin sauce, creamy peanut butter, and rice vinegar. The consistency is thick and luscious, perfect for dipping.
The hoisin sauce has a strong savory umami taste, so no additional soy sauce or fish sauce is needed. I find that the sauce is sweet enough from what’s already added to the peanut butter.
Feel free to adjust the sweetness level up or down, especially if you’re using unsweetened or homemade peanut butter. Maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, or coconut sugar are good options as well.
Other filling ideas to try
- Protein: Grilled chicken, Chinese barbecue pork, or tofu
- Vegetables: Sliced bell pepper, cucumber, spiralized vegetables
- Fruit: Mango, pineapple, or strawberries
How long will they last?
It’s best to eat them fresh within an hour or two of rolling. However, they can be covered with plastic wrap, refrigerated and enjoyed within 24 hours. Yet I’ve noticed that the rice wrapper can become more rigid as it loses moisture in the refrigerator when stored.
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