05 June 2014

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Sauce - AFF IndoChina Jun 2014

I've not been to Vietnam before and rarely ate any Vietnamese food (totally no recollection when was the last time I ever had any Vietnamese food). Recently was at Jurong East Westgate Mall and saw an eatery at the basement 2 level selling Vietnamese cuisine, called Pho Street. So decided to give it a try since the theme for AFF June 2014 is IndoChina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia).

I understand that the Pho noodle soup is one of the most well-known dish of Vietnam, but what really got me interested was the fresh spring rolls. They call it the Vietnamese Summer Rolls or Salad Rolls or Gỏi cuốn. Basically vegetables, herbs, rice vermicelli, meat and shrimp wrapped in rice paper and eaten with a peanut dipping sauce. This is totally my kind of food! Hubby and I ordered a bowl of Pho each and an appetizer platter to share which included the Summer Rolls. I loved it but hubby took a bite and rejected; never mind I was happy to take his share =D

And so the very first dish that I attempted for AFF June was Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce =D

Read through a few recipes and saw a couple of videos on how to prep and wrap the rolls. Quite quick and easy, wonder why I didn't try making this before :p It's ok, never too late!

I love the colour combination of the rolls; they look so appetising and refreshing. The different textures work very well together - chewy rice paper and rice vermicelli, crunchy veggies, succulent meat and shrimp.  They are eaten cold and hence suitable for summer or our hot and humid weather here. The roll is quite bland by itself, but totally delicious when eaten with the peanut hoisin sauce. The sauce is soooooo yummy; it's saltish and sweet with nutty and garlicky fragrance, goes very well with veggie sticks too!

The rolls look very healthy right? Since there are lots of veggies and boiled items. I chomped 5 rolls at one go, then realised I've eaten 5 shrimps and 5 slices of pork belly just like that. Well, it's my lunch and they are smaller rolls than the usual :p There, self-justified. Haha.

Here's a look at the ingredients - rice paper, rice vermicelli, assorted veggie and herbs, pork belly, shrimp and the various sauces/condiments.

I bought the rice paper from NTUC; there were 2 sizes, 16cm and 20cm. On hindsight I should have bought the 20cm coz bigger area can put more ingredients and easier to wrap. But I always like smaller size stuff so yep 16cm.

Most of the recipe I saw use the normal thin type of rice vermicelli. But the summer roll I had at Pho Street used the thick type (for Laksa) which I preferred, so I got a packet of it.

For veggie and herb, I used baby romaine, Jap cucumber, carrot, fresh mint and coriander leaves as I happened to have these in my fridge, so I just need to buy some chives.

I always have a box of frozen grey shrimp in my freezer. For the pork belly, I was going to cook another dish for dinner, so just cut a portion for this.

I have most of the sauces/condiments in my kitchen except for Hoisin sauce. As I was going to attempt a dish that requires Hoisin sauce, decided to get a bottle.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce
(reference from Just As Delish and Danangcuisine.com)
* makes 10-12 rolls using 16cm rice paper

Ingredients - fresh spring roll
  • 12pc small/medium size shrimp
  • 130g pork belly
  • Pinch of salt and slice of ginger
  • 30g thick rice vermicelli
  • 12pc rice paper (16cm)
  • Baby romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, cucumber strips, fresh mint leaves, coriander leaves, chinese chives (koo chye)
  1. In a pot, fry the shrimp on medium heat without any oil, till fully cooked (turned orange). Cool slightly and remove/discard the shells but set aside the shrimp heads. Slice the shrimp in halves horizontally, remove any dirt. Rinse, pat dry and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, heat about 2 cups of water with pinch of salt, slice of ginger and the shrimp heads. Once the water boils, add the pork belly and cook for about 15 mins (adjust according to size of pork). Once pork is cooked, remove and soak it in cold water for 5 mins. Then slice into thin pieces. Set aside.
  3. Set aside 3 tbsp of the pork/shrimp broth for the sauce later.
  4. Bring the remaining broth to boil again, add the thick rice vermicelli and cook for 5-6 mins. Once cooked, remove and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
  5. Wash and pat dry the baby romaine lettuce, fresh mint leaves, coriander leaves and chinese chives, shred the carrot and cut cucumber into strips. Set aside.
Ingredients - Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp pork/shrimp broth
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic chilli sauce
  • toasted crushed peanuts
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot, add garlic and stir fry till fragrant.
  2. Add hoisin sauce, broth, peanut butter and sugar. Cook till the sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Transfer to serving dish, top with garlic chilli sauce, crushed peanuts and coriander leaves.

Steps for wrapping
  1. Take a piece of rice paper and soak in warm water for 10 secs. It will become translucent.
  2. Place the rice paper onto a cutting board (avoid silicone mat, the rice paper will stick to it). Place a leaf of romaine lettuce, some shredded carrot, a cucumber strip, 1-2 mint leaves and a stalk of coriander leaves onto the rice paper.
  3. Next, place a few strands of rice vermicelli onto the veggie.
  4. Roll and wrap the rice paper towards the centre. Place 2 slices of pork belly.
  5. Roll and wrap the rice paper towards the edge. Place 2 slices of shrimp.Wrap the sides of the paper. Place a stalk of chive.
  6. Complete the roll and wrap.
The wraps were a little sticky and it took some practice to get the rolls to look nice. I tore the skin of the first roll (the one on the left), luckily the entire roll still managed to stay intact.

Basically even for small spring rolls like these, you could see the 3 different ingredients - the greens, the pork and the shrimp.
There are many variations to these yummy summer rolls, I saw some cooks wrapping fruits like mango as well! I still have half a packet of rice paper left, thinking of making the lemongrass beef version; the ones made by Shannon, Just as Delish looked so good. I already foresee myself making these rolls from time to time as my lunch. Stay tuned!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – IndoChina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks.


  1. Thank you for your submission and your summer rolls look fab!

  2. Thanks Kelly! The summer roll tasted really good =D

  3. This always been my all time favourite if I eat at a Viet Rest.

  4. Hi Edith,
    I keep craving for it now :p

  5. Hi. Where can you get the Hoisin sauce? Thanks.

  6. Hi, Hoisin sauce can be found at major supermarkets like NTUC FP, Sheng Siong. Common brands are Lee Kum Kee and Woh Hup.

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