Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Cold Spring Rolls)

The weather in Hong Kong was rainy, cold, and generally horrible this past weekend, so we weren't really inspired to do something all that special. Well, that's not entirely true because our Saturday evening was pretty much spent on gorging enough sushi to feed a small cavalry, and our Sunday morning was spent attacking a mountain of dim sum at yumcha. So, by the end of the day on Sunday, there was no room in our stomachs to do anything all too inspiring. The weather called for soup, though, so we ended up trying to perfect our Thai Tom Yum soup recipe, and in addition tried our hands on making cold Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Goi Cuon).

The recipes online make it sound so easy, but rolling the spring rolls really made me realize why people go to cooking school! lol ... It was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever done in the kitchen, but in the end, we ended up with a few fairly edible, although not entirely beautiful, spring rolls. They were fresh as they should be, but I've forgotten what they're really supposed to taste like, so I can't comment. I'm told that they were great, though the rice paper was a bit sticky.

I could go on to say how I elaborately made the sauce, but honestly, all that we did was to mix a bit of store-bought Thai sweet and sour chili sauce with a bit of water (to dilute it), and voila! Since we didn't have the energy to make the proper sauces for this, we just added lime juice and fish sauce (major ingredients in said sauces) directly to the herbs. Easy-peasy and tasted great.

This is what you get with a lack of adequate lighting and a phone camera.

Ease of Cooking Yummy Factor Apprx. Cost
HK$30 (US$4)
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
  • 1 pack edible rice paper wrappers
  • 1 handful rice vermicelli, cooked
  • 2 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional)
  • 1 bunch basil leaves, chiffonade cut
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chinese lettuce leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 Thai red bird chili, finely chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 bowl warm water
  1. Combine shrimp, coriander, mint, basil, chili, lime juice, and fish sauce in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Dip rice paper in warm water for just one second and lay it on a flat surface.
  3. In the center, place part of a lettuce leaf, a tiny bit of vermicelli, and a generous helping of the herb concoction. 
  4. Fold the top and the bottom (shortest) parts of the wrapper, over the filling.
  5. Fold one of the sides horizontally over this, and carefully, while tucking the ingredients in tightly, roll towards the other side of wrapper. The wrapper will seal itself. 
  6. Lay to rest for a minute or two, and nibble with a bit of sweet and sour sauce, or if you're not lazy like us, make some accompanying sauces (though if you do the latter, don't add lime juice or fish sauce to the spring rolls).

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