Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leilani’s Gỏi Cuốn|Vietnamese Spring Rolls recipe

This is the third of four recipes that feature my favorite fish sauce Red Boat.

Leilani’s Gi Cun|Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Makes 16-18 rolls.

Chicken spring rolls with Rustic Almond Sauce
Poached shrimp and pork are the traditional proteins used in goi cuon, but can be substituted with grilled meats or tofu. Different herbs can be added, such as basil and Vietnamese coriander (rau ram), choose your favorite ones. The rolls are best when served immediately after rolling. Traditionally the ingredients are served family style onto the table and everyone assembles their own according to their preference.  In our family, we like to eat Gỏi Cun with whatever meat is handy including bulgogi, kalbi, grilled fish, rotisserie chicken, sai ooa|Laotian sausages, etc--which makes this a nice leftovers meal.  I have found brown rice vermicelli at a local Asian market, but I can't remember which one!

When I'm in a hurry to make a meal in under 30 minutes, I like to use Bánh Hỏi Tươi | Rice vermicelli which only needs to be soaked in hot water for a few minutes in a bowl, is conveniently portioned, and there is no pot to wash afterwards!  I also prefer the lighter noodle texture on the palate.

  • grilled protein (tofu, fish, seafood, chicken, beef) marinaded with lemongrass, garlic, palm or coconut palm sugar and fish sauce (can be prepared in advance)
  • 8 ounces thin rice vermicelli noodles (bún or Bánh Hỏi Tươi)
  • 1 head butter or red lettuce, washed and ribs removed or a box of organic spring salad mix
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 English cucumber, persian/armenian or pickle cucumber, julienned into 3-4 inch sticks
  • 16-20 garlic chives or Chinese chives
  • optional pickled leeks or pickled garlic sliced thinly or kimchi/sauerkraut (get salt fermented for a tangy probiotic boost!)
  • optional green mango, starfruit, or other sour fruit julienned (not recommended if you are using sauerkraut/kimchi)
  • 1 package rice paper (bánh tráng)


Marinade meat with minced lemongrass, garlic, sugar and fish sauce. Grill/roast/etc. Once it is cooked, allow to cool then shred into bite size pieces and arrange onto a platter.


Thoroughly wash herbs in a basin of water until the dirt settles on the bottom. Remove the stems and arrange onto a platter.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Using your hands separate rice vermicelli noodles as you drop them in. Boil for 2-3 minutes until tender using chopsticks to separate the noodles. Drain out the water in a colander and rinse the vermicelli in cold water until cool. Arrange in a serving bowl.
Arrange all the ingredients at each end of the table. Everyone should have a plate for the rice paper and a dipping bowl for the Nước Mấm Pha|fish sauce dip or the almond sauce.  

Fill a medium bowl with cold or room temperature water and quickly dip a piece of rice paper into water; make sure to wet the entire piece. Do not soak it! Hot water will soften it quickly, but you may have tearing.  Cold water takes longer to reconstitute the rice paper, but will tear less.

Place on a plate and allow to soften. Place a lettuce leaf at the lower end of the rice paper. Add rice noodles, protein, mint, cucumber, cilantro and chive evenly across the rice paper. You can add any of the sour pickled options as well. Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Continue rolling while keeping tension on the rice paper for a tight roll. The roll will seal itself.  I personally like the burrito method of folding in the ends which keeps the ingredients inside the roll.
Serve with Nước Mấm Pha or almond dipping sauce.  If we are eating to go, I add the sauce in the roll as I make it and eliminate an extra thing to tote.

Bonus Variation: Bún|Noodle Salad

Bún is the deconstructed version of Gi Cun.  The noodles are served warm in bowls, heaped with shredded lettuce, herbs, julienned cucumbers, bean sprouts, and topped with warm protein.  The dressing is Nước Mấm Pha with a generous heaping of finely shredded carrots.  We've also used my almond sauce with bún for my daughter.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

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