Goi Cuon with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

February 13, 2008 | Chuck
Goi Cuon with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese fresh spring rolls? Summer rolls? Salad rolls? What do you call these things? It's goi cuon in Vietnamese. The literally translation is salad (goi) roll (cuon). Whatever you call them, they are light, refreshing and delicious. Most restaurants serve salad rolls with nuoc cham, a fish sauce based dipping sauce, but did you know, it's ten times better with a spicy peanut Hoisin sauce.

A few weeks ago, Hungry Bear had a major craving for goi cuon after Nikki, a.k.a. Canary Girl, asked me to share my recipe. My version is a common shrimp and pork salad roll recipe that most Viet people make. As long as the ingredients are fresh, especially the lettuce and herbs, the salad rolls are going to be good.

I made goi cuon this past Sunday night as part of our Vietnamese/Chinese New Year celebration dinner with our SND friends. Every time I make a batch of salad rolls, I have more respect for my mom's ability to crank these things out. They are easy to make, but time consuming to prep and roll. My mom can probably roll 2 or 3 batches in the time I can make one. Next time, I'm just going to do the prep work and we'll have a salad roll rolling party.

Now to the best part, my Dad's spicy peanut Hoisin sauce. This peanut sauce completely rocks! And it's super easy to make, taking only five minutes. The sauce relegates the goi cuon to just a delivery device to get the peanut sauce into my mouth. It's a great combination of spicy, sweet, salty and creamy. The next time you make Vietnamese salad rolls, dip it in this spicy peanut Hoisin sauce and you won't ever go back to nuoc cham!

Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Goi Cuon) Recipe

SND Note: 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 within a couple hours after rolling. Don't wait too long or refrigerate them as the rice paper will dry out and become tough.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound pork tenderloin
8 ounces thin rice vermicelli noodles
1 head butter lettuce, washed and ribs removed
1 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, removed from stems
1 English cucumber or seeded regular cucumber, thinly sliced 
16-20 garlic chives or Chinese chives
1 package rice paper (banh trang)

Directions:
1) Fill a small saucepan half full of water, add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp, reduce heat to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Do not discard water. Remove the shrimp with slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

2) Trim fat from pork and return water to a boil. Reduce heat and poach pork in water at a low simmer, about 15-18 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pork and set aside to cool. Reserve light stock to make peanut Hoisin sauce.

3) Follow package directions and cook rice vermicelli noodles.

4) Lay shrimp flat and cut in half horizontally. Cut tenderloin in half lengthwise. Then cut across the grain to create thin slices of pork. Set shrimp and pork aside.

5) Fill a medium bowl with warm water and quickly dip and spin a piece of rice paper into water; make sure to wet the entire piece. Lay it down on a cutting board. Place a lettuce leaf at the lower end of the rice paper. Add rice noodles, pork, mint, cucumber and cilantro evenly across the rice paper. [See the slideshow for pictures of the rolling process.]

6) Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Add shrimp with the sliced side facing up. Fold the sides inwards and add a chive over shrimp with 1 inch sticking outside of a folded side. Continue rolling while keeping tension on the rice paper for a tight roll. The roll will seal itself.

7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 until shrimp and pork are finished off. Serve with peanut Hoisin dipping sauce.

Makes 16-18 rolls to serve 6 to 8 as an appetizer


Spicy Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce Recipe (Nuoc Leo)

SND Note: This sauce is not the traditional Vietnamese peanut sauce (nuoc leo) made with liver. It's a simplified version using peanut butter. Whole soybean sauce is intact soybeans fermented in salt, water and sugar. It has a salty, sour taste. If you can't find it, substitute a little salt to taste. The sauce is on the thick side with a consistency of a dense Dijon mustard when cooled.

Ingredients:
1 cup light shrimp and pork stock (from step 2 of goi cuon recipe) or water
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon thick soy sauce
1 teaspoon whole soybean sauce, crushed
3 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce
4-6 tablespoons crunchy or creamy peanut butter (natural or organic)
2-3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or diced chilies to taste 
1 ounce dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions:
1) In a small sauce pan, add light stock and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.

2) Add thick soy sauce, crushed soybean sauce, Hoisin sauce, 4 tablespoons peanut butter and chili garlic sauce. Stir until peanut butter is dissolved and the sauce thickens. Add additional peanut butter until desired thickness is obtained. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish sauce with chopped peanuts.

Makes almost 2 cups of sauce

[tags]vietnamese, peanuts, sauce, peanut butter, goi cuon, shrimp, pork, spring rolls, dipping[/tags]

33 Comments on “Goi Cuon with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce”

  1. canarygirl said:

    Oh. My. Got. *faints* I need to be invited to one of these Sunday Night Dinners! I’m tellin’ ya! These look absolutely amazing. (we have similar dishes! Did you notice in my copy cat of your post? lol). The next time I make these, I’m totally going to try your dad’s sauce. YUM! :)

  2. Ooooh, I could live on these! In Rhode Island, they’re called nime chow on every menu in every restaurant. Weird….

  3. Heather! said:

    I love goi cuon! I make them a lot in the summer. I will definitely steal your dad’s peanut sauce recipe! :)

    btw, I linked you on my sidebar – I love Vietnamese food and make it quite a bit at home. Yours looks amazing.

  4. felicity said:

    finally, a REAL rice paper rolls (what we call them in Australia) recipe! I’ve read so many versions that seem incredibly bland and non-authentic, and serve them with the boring sauce. you make them how I make them, and your sauce recipe is excellent. i am very very happy about this post, to teach people real rice paper rolls!

  5. josie smith said:

    Nice! Thanks also for sharing your Spicy Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce Recipe.

  6. Sarah C. said:

    I FINALLY found a place in my small town that sells banh trang!! I am looking forward to eating these inteh heat of our summer. The sauce looks amazing too. Thanks for posting this!

  7. Christine said:

    My mom makes a very similar *quick* dipping sauce – she uses the leftover broth from shrimp/pork too. I think it adds a nice savoriness (is that a word?) to the sauce. I love these rolls – they’re delicious and healthy and maybe even low carb :)

  8. Thanks for the recipe for this sauce. I had it in Little Saigon and have been trying hard to figure out what goes in there.

    This is awesome!!!

  9. Pictomo said:

    These are so beautiful, I am making them for Easter appetizers…a little out there ethnically for our Italian/Irish family…I can’t wait to make them our newest tradition!
    I’ll prep tonite and get up early to wrap them fresh in the morning!

    Thanks…spring is truly here!

  10. Great recipe and post here – and great job too with the directions and the photos are simply lovely – I am going to try this super soon – thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Emily said:

    Is it better to wet the rice paper w/ warm water or cold water? Just curious as I prefer to use cold h2o. How do those wonderful VN restaurants wet a BUNCH of banh trang w/out those babies sticking to each other like glue?

  12. Chuck said:

    Emily, I have always used warm/hot water to dip my rice paper. It’s just how my family does it. I’ve seen other people recommend cold water. Next time, I’ll try both cold and hot water and post the results.

    The brand of banh trang is the key to get a bunch stacked without sticking. Some brands are much stickier than others and some are thicker, which are more forgivable when pulling them apart. I need to test the Double Parrot/Rose brand we use to see if they are stackable.

    My mom and her friends use a plastic divider to keep the sheets of rice paper separated. I think you’ll find them at a good Asian supermarket.

  13. kyle said:

    fantastic construction sequence!! I can vouch for these rolls: they are the real deal!

  14. Jessica said:

    You genius! Thank you! We live in Nebraska, and with the constant opening-and-closing of Vietnamese restaurants here, we have been decidedly without a good place to find goi cuon for at least three years – no one in town makes decent spring rolls. Looks like I’ll be scrambling for rice paper wrappers tomorrow.

  15. Bernadette said:

    Hi Chuck! I was sitting here drooling and thinking out loud that I should make some, but I was wondering about the soybean sauce, what should I be looking for in the store. My brilliant husband suggested I delurk and ask you. Salad rolls don’t usually excite him but your pictures are getting his attention.

  16. sweet ajax said:

    i loveeeeeeeeeee it,

    thx

  17. THanks for this recipe-I am sending it to my father who loves this Vietnamese specialty :-)

  18. Jeff said:

    Thanks for the dipping sauce recipe! We have been looking all over for a recipe for that dipping sauce :)

  19. L said:

    I love goi cuon! it’s such a healthy food. I know restaurants serve this as appetizer but I just eat it for dinner sometimes. my roomate and I just have a bunch of people over and have them roll their own! it’s so much FUN!

    We found this website that sells you all the stuff you need (well, minus the fresh food which you have to get from the grocery store). check it out: pantryinabox.com — they also have vietnamese coffee which i also LOVE!

  20. Thu said:

    Thank u for the recipe. The photos are making me hungry!

    I can eat like 15 of these!!

    I substitute mine with chicken breast + shrimp.

  21. Suzanne said:

    I found the recipe to be too salty and too much peanut butter. I would suggest leaving out the soy sauce and reduce to 2 tbl spoons peanut butter.

    But thanks for suggesting to use pork or shrimp stock instead of water!

  22. Ty said:

    These really are delicious. I’ve added a tablespoon of honey to my sauce, and it turns out well too. Thanks for this great recipe!

  23. Sandy said:

    yummie…i’m getting hungry…

    While searching, vietfoodrecipes.com has also a good demo on how to assembly a springroll. You guy can check out at:
    http://www.vietfoodrecipes.com.....%e1%bb%91n

    rolling is a trick with thin paper, but gotta try it soon… I love spring rolls.

  24. Nhoang32 said:

    Interesting, I’ve never seen nuoc cham sold in Vietnamese restaurants or stores for goi cuon, only hoisin peanut sauce. I didn’t have all the ingredients (garlic, thick soy sauce, soybean sauce) and it still turned out delicious. Great idea to use the pork and shrimp broth!

  25. Cathy said:

    How long does the sauce normally last in the fridge?
    Thanks in advance!

  26. jasi said:

    so we’re really bad when we make these. we use char sui and shrimp. we put everything out on plates and assemble at the table while we eat.. and by the third we’re in a competition to pile on shrimp in a really crazy manner. we wind up snacking on the pork afterwards sharing a beer. =D

  27. Jason said:

    thanks for the epic sauce!

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