Gỏi cuốn, also known as summer rolls, are a classic Vietnamese appetizer. The dish is made with lots of vegetables, herbs and noodles, all wrapped up in a sheet of rice paper.
These rolls are so light and refreshing, no matter how many you eat, you won’t feel weighed down at all. A peanut dipping sauce serves as the perfect companion.
The Vietnamese cuisine is fairly meat-heavy and in almost all traditional dishes there is some part of pork. It is the very first country where we had a bit trouble eating. When we found out about summer rolls, they became our absolute favorite and we have been eating them for a month long… every-single-day.
Don’t stress if your summer rolls aren’t totally perfect. These tips & tricks will take you from beginner to a real summer roll-wrapping-pro!
The filling ingredients are flexible.
Want to use tofu? Go for it! Want to make it without noodles? Why not? You can leave out any ingredients you don’t like and sub in ingredients you do. Prawns are a traditional filling for Vietnamese summer rolls, but as we both don’t eat shrimp, it is left out of this recipe. The obvious necessary ingredients are the rice papers and crunchy veggies.
Preparation is key.
Be sure all your vegetables are chopped and rice noodles are cooked and cooled when you start to roll – everything should be ready and easily accessible. Also make sure to have some extra rice papers, it may take a few tries before you’re rolling like a pro.
Filling amounts will vary depending on the size of the rice paper. Don’t over-stuff the roll. Rather, begin with a small amount of filling then add a little more until you find what works with your size of rice paper. The rice paper will tear if you have too much filling.
Wrap like a burrito.
If you have folded a burrito before, you can definitely make summer rolls! Start rolling the rice paper, halfway fold the ends in and keep rolling. This holds the filling in and makes it easier to pick up and eat the rolls.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
- 10 Rice paper wrappers
- 50 gram rice noodles
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 medium bell pepper
- ¼ purple cabbage
- 10 green of red lettuce leaves
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves and/or coriander
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- ⅓ cup hot water
- Start with the peanut dipping sauce; whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Prep the veggies; slice the cucumber, carrot, red cabbage and bell pepper into thin strips. No need to peel the cucumber, the skin in super crunchy.
- Soften the rice papers; fill a round cake pan or pie plate with warm water. I recommend working with one rice paper at a time. Soak the paper in water for about 15-20 seconds, until softened but still slightly stiff. When it becomes too soft, it will be very hard to work with. When paper is taken out of the water, place it on a work surface or chopping board.
- Place a few leaves of mint, coriander and lettuce on the sheet of rice paper. Add some slices of cucumber, carrot and bel pepper. Place a small handful of noodles on top and the red cabbage to finish. Just pile them on top, making sure to take up the proper width. Try to use only one-third of the space and leave the top of the paper open for wrapping.
- Roll everything up tightly. To do so, gently pull up the bottom of the roll and roll over the filling. Use your hands to tuck the filling in as you go. When you’re about halfway, fold the ends of the rice paper in so that it is completely enclosed. Keep on rolling tightly until the whole rice paper paper is rolled up.
- Repeat step 4-6 for the remaining summer rolls. Then cut each roll in half and serve with peanut sauce. Enjoy!
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