The cafeteria at work sells Vietnamese Spring rolls for a ransom. I thought it was time to switch to home-made ones and really, they are so easy to make and so versatile that they should be in your lunch rotation. You can use whatever you have in the fridge and scale up to any number of people you want to feed. Plus throw a couple of dipping sauces in. My favorites are peanut sauce and nuoc cham, the Vietnamese sweet chilli garlic sauce. For the Spring Roles, I am providing a list of what I consider to be essential ingredients, plus a list of other ingredients that you can pick from. I am providing no quantities, you can scale up and down as you wish. You can buy the peanut sauce and nuoc cham and you can easily find vegetarian versions of each. I am providing a version of nuoc cham that I obtained from the blog Cafe Sucre Farine and will post a recipe for peanut sauce another time.
Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham):
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs lime juice
1 tsp sambal olek (chilli sauce)
1-2 tsp cilantro stems, chopped fine
Spring Rolls (Essential Ingredients):
- Spring Roll Wraps (any size), available at almost all supermarkets
- Cilantro, finely chopped
- Fresh Basil Leaves, finely chopped
- Mint, Finely Chopped
- Firm Tofu, or substitute cooked shrimp/ left-over noodles, or simply add more avocados and bean sprouts. Anything that provides body will do.
- Roasted, unsalted peanuts, crushed
- Lettuce, finely slivered
- Bean Sprouts
- Carrots, shredded
- Radish, shredded
- Raw Mango, shredded
- Scallions, green parts, finely minced
- Serrano peppers, finely minced
- Teriyaki Sauce, Soy Sauce, Salt
- Purchase or prepare dipping sauce(s). For home-made Nuoc cham, mix all listed ingredients and you are good to go.
- Prepare the Tofu:
Cut the Tofu slab into 5 horizontal sheets. Heat oil in a frying pan and add the sheets. Cook on high heat for a few minutes till both sides are browned (see image). If you like, you can flavor the tofu with some teriyaki sauce as I did, or soy sauce or salt. Cool and cut into match-sticks (see image).
3. Prep all other ingredients and have them available.
4.Place warm water in a large pan large enough to submerge the Spring Roll wraps. A 9×13 baking pan works well.
5. Assemble the Spring Rolls:
- Submerge the Spring Roll wraps in the warm water till they soften and lose shape. This takes seconds
- Place the wrap flat on a cutting board.
- Place ingredients on the wrap leaving a 1.5″ border on three sides. Include the essential ingredients and any other ingredients of your choice from the optional list. Do not overstuff.
- Fold in the top and bottom and then the short side.
- Roll the wrap and gently press the edges. The edges will seal easily.
- Continue, till you are out of ingredients.
- Serve with dipping sauces.