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!
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.
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)
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.
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
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]