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Aug 20

Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls)

 

 

 

Gỏi Cuốn, fresh Vientamese rice paper rolls … mmm!! You can’t get any fresher than this; and to think I had to travel to Australia of all places to discover what would quickly become one of my favourite snacks.

 

 

This dish (dish?? Can you call it a dish?) is so yummy and so healthy I’d recommend this to anyone an everyone. I love the layers of South East Asian flavours, and the use of fresh aromatic herbs give it a lightness that makes it perfect for a summer appetizer or to take with you on a picnic.

 

A gỏi cuốn  is made with fresh ingredients and is served cool or at room temperature … it is never cooked. If you ask me, I’d say this would be more of a summer salad than anything else. Indeed, this rice paper roll is oftern refered to as a ‘summer roll’ in some countries.

 

Putting one of these babies together may or may not be your cup of tea … despite the fact that there is no cooking involved the prep work of chopping, blanching, soaking and peeling might put some people off. It is a very typical south east asian practice to spend a considerable amount of time prepping the ingredients than the actual cooking process itself. Once the ingredients have been prepped the actual cooking of many dishes take mere minutes to finish. Just think of the making of gỏi cuốn as an assembly line; believe me the end result is worth it.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 200 g medium-sized cocktail shrimp
  • 1 pkt rice vermicelli (mee hoon)
  • lettuce leaves, chopped
  • thumb sized ginger piece
  • 2 red chillies, seeded
  • 1/2 red onion
  • handful of cilantro, kaffir lime leaves & mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 stalks spring onions
  • 8-10 rice paper wrappers
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • juice of 1 lime

 

 

 

 

To be honest, this is the first time I am attempting to make gỏi cuốn, so when I got down to it I had absolutely no idea where to start. So I went with the noodles.

 

 

NOODLES:

Prep the rice vermicelli by removing the quantity you require from the packet and placing it in a bowl. The noodles, known as mee hoon or bee hoon in my country, comes in two forms : fresh and dehydrated. The dehydrated version is the most common one sold in shops so I went with that one. Before use you will need to rehydrate it, so soak the noodles in tap water until everything falls apart and becomes loose. Drain the water away.

 

Now you will need to cook the noodles. Do this by pouring boiling water over the noodles and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Every brand is different so keep an eye on your noodles; they can turn from cooked to mush in a very short time. Drain the noodles in a collander and then dunk the noodles back into cold water to stop them cooking further. Then drain them again and give them a good shake to remove as much water as possible.

 

While the noodles are draining make the marinade.

 

 

 

 

In a clean jam jar or a measuring jug, snip the herbs into fine shreds : the cilantro, kaffir lime leaves, spring onion (white part only), and the mint. Put however much you desire, but keep tasting to keep everything in balance. Now add in the fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, the lime juice and sugar. Give it a stir.

 

In a mini blender roughly chop the red onion, chilli and ginger. Add this to the marinade and stir everything together. Depending on your personal taste, adjust the saltiness and sweet notes. Pour everything over the cooked noodles and run everything thru by hand. Leave for 5 mins to allow the noodles to absorb the flavours.

 

These noodles were SO GOOD after they were seasoned that I could not help myself eating them as I went about the business of making rice paper rolls. There is no oil of any kind here so its super healthy. I even kept some in the fridge for my dinner. YAY!

 

 

 

 

ASSEMBLY:

 

1. Fill a roasting tray with tap water and submerge about five rice papers. It takes a few minutes for them to become pliable. Once they are soft place them on a cutting board.

 

2. Place the cooked prawns down first towards one end of the wrapper, followed by the shredded lettuce and finally the marinated noodles. Fold over the rice paper wrapper, tuck the sides in and finish off the rolling. The ends should automatically stick and seal itself off. This sounds easy in writing, but it does take a bit of practice to get right. Aim to keep the filling wrapped as tightly as possible to keep everything neat and tidy.

 

 

3. Serve the rolls with a spicy peanut dipping sauce (sate sauce) or sweet chilli sauce with a squeeze of fresh lime.

 

 

 

 

 

 ~ ENJOY!! ~

 

 

 

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  1. Brent

    Getting flashbacks already! I tried these back in August and they were phenomenal; a flash back to those excellent little nooks tucked away in Cabramatta back in Sydney (something of a ‘little Hanoi’). Made my day- alas there is little in the way of great, affordable south-east-asian food here in Europe.

    Luckily, since Viv made these little beauties I’ve been inspired to keep a stock of the necessary ingredients. I even me t up with one of the guys from work to make these! I might give it another crack this weekend. Thanks for the recipe, Viv (and a little mouthful of fresh, crisp summer here in the frigid ‘old world’).

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