Vietnamese Spring Roll or Goi Cuon Tom Thit is a refreshing appetizer made up of shrimp, pork, vermicelli noodles, and an assortment of vegetables rolled in rice paper. They are served at room temperature with a side of peanut dipping sauce or alternatively, Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce. This dish is best eaten in Spring and Summer when fresh herbs such as Perilla, Sorrel, and Chinese chives, are plentiful and cheap. However, it's been cold and rainy. I need this dish now to remind me of warmer weather. The pathetic-looking and expensive Vietnamese herbs at this time of year will have to do.
There are many Vietnamese restaurants around me that have spring rolls on the menu. However, I'm not a fan of restaurant spring rolls. They are usually filled with way too much noodles and bean sprouts. They also come with a sad amount of diluted peanut sauce. I like my peanut sauce thick with lots of peanut flavor. There isn't too much to the dish so the peanut sauce is important, and watery restaurant peanut sauce isn't going to cut it.
Once you make this dish at home, you'd realize that it doesn't take too much time to prepare, tastes delicious, and costs so much less to make at home than to eat out at restaurants.
Enjoy the recipe below!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe (Goi Cuon Tom Thit)
The great thing about this dish is that there's very little cooking. Most of the time is spent washing and prepping the vegetables. This dish is super simple to make and it is the only dish that my husband is allowed to help with.
Ingredients (Serves 5-7)
2 lbs shrimp (peel and devein)
1 lb pork belly
2 tablespoons salt
1 bag of rice vermicelli
Assortment of lettuce, bean sprouts, sorrel, perilla, garlic chive and/or mint
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 to 1-1/2 cups water or pork/shrimp stock (from boiling the pork and shrimp)
1/3 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
Toasted peanuts for garnish (optional)
Sriracha sauce for spiciness (optional)
Clean the pork belly by scrubbing it down with a bit of salt and then rinse under cold running water. I find this to be very helpful in removing a lot of the foul porky smell.
Add water (just enough to cover pork) and salt to a small pot and bring to a boil. Add pork and cook for 30-45 minutes or until inserted chopstick goes in smoothly and juices run clear.
Remove pork, rinse, pat dry and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing thinly. Set aside. You can also chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes for easier slicing.
To the pot that was used to boil the pork, add shrimp. Cook on medium high until shrimp turns opaque (or white/orange/pink). Remove from pot and rinse thoroughly (keep the stock water). Halve along the vein side. Set aside.
Thoroughly wash all the vegetables. Set aside.
Cook rice vermicelli per package instructions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
Assemble the rolls: First wet the rice paper lightly. On one end of the rice paper, add a bed of noodles, then an assortment of greens, then pork (3 slices). Towards the other end of the rice paper, lay out the shrimp (3 slices). Start rolling up the noodle end, tightly tucking in the filling as you roll up. Tuck in the sides when you are half-way through rolling. Continue to roll up the shrimp. Putting the shrimp towards the end of the rice paper allows you to see the shrimpy goodness through the rolls, which makes it more appetizing.
In a small sauce pan, heat up vegetable oil. Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add hoisin sauce and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth. Add water or pork/shrimp stock. Cook on low until you get the desired consistency. Add Sriracha for a spicy kick and garnish with toasted peanuts.