We were so blessed to be able to live in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for 3 years when my husband was there to do a setup for his company. This has given us the opportunity to learn the culture, the language and most of all indulge in authentic Vietnamese cuisine. It was a great experience for the whole family!!
Can you remember when you were a child, your mum most probably will tell you to “Eat your greens”? Well, well, Vietnamese eats loads of fresh vegetables and if you don’t like them, maybe you should try living in Vietnam, if that’s not possible then follow our Vietnamese theme this May and you will be amazed how much you will like these greens and of course the Vietnamese cuisine too!! 🙂
This first dish will kick start this series to “EAT YOUR GREENS”, you will love Gỏi cuốn. It is so fresh, light yet super flavourful and well loved by people around the world. Believe it or not, it’s not the rolls but the spicy peanut dipping sauce that makes all the difference. We can eat 3 rolls in one sitting. So delish!
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Makes 16 pcs
350g pork belly/pork shoulder butt
500g – 600g medium size prawns (need about 24 prawns)
220 g rice vermicelli/bún (in Vietnamese)
16 pieces rice paper/Bánh tráng
16 pcs of lettuce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 to 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons of crushed peanuts
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ or more cup pork broth/water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 chillies (minced)
Preparation of the pork:
- Rub 1 tablespoon of salt on the pork and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off the salt and set aside.
- Fill a small pot with enough water to cover the pork.
- Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat to simmer for about another 25 to 30 minutes. It is done when it floats or when it is no longer pink in the middle.
- Remove meat and soak it in cold water for 5 minutes to avoid it from blackening.
- Drain and let cool.
- Then cut into thin slices and set aside for later use.
- Reserve the broth for making the dipping sauce, if you are using it.
Preparation for the prawns:
- Peel, devein and rinse the prawns.
- Fill a small pot with enough water to cover the prawns and bring it to a boil.
- In about 1 to 2 minutes, the prawns will change into pinkish colour which means it is cooked.
- Remove from the water and let it cool.
- Slice each prawns lengthwise into 2 halves and set aside for later use.
Preparation for the rice vermicelli:
- Read your packaging instructions for cooking the vermicelli.
- I cook the vermicelli in boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain and set aside for later use.
Preparation for the vegetables and herbs:
- Rinse the lettuce, chives and herbs (mints, cilantro, and basil) well and drain.
Preparation for the dipping sauce:
- Heat oil in a small sauce pan on medium high heat
- Add minced garlic and fry till golden brown.
- Add hoisin sauce, pork broth/water, peanut butter and sugar.
- Stir well and simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes until thickened.
- At this juncture you can adjust the sauce accordingly to your taste. Add more peanut butter if you prefer to have a stronger peanut butter taste or if the sauce is too thick just add more broth or water.
- Transfer to condiment bowls and top up with minced fresh chilli and crushed peanuts.
Preparation and Assembling of roll:
- Place the cooked rice vermicelli, shrimps, pork, lettuce, chives and herbs on your work table.
- Prepare a pan of water to soften rice paper
- A flat work surface, either a cutting board or a large plate, is needed for the rolling job.
- Dip a rice paper in water to thoroughly soak (This dipping motion should take no more than 2 seconds).
- Gently shake off the excess water and lay it on the flat surface.
- Place the lettuce and herbs in a row on the lower/upper third of the rice paper, leaving about 2 inches on both sides.
- Add some vermicelli on top of the vegetables.
- Place 3 pork slices in the middle row.
- Last place 3 prawn halves on the rice paper. Keep the pinkish side of prawns facing down.
- Starting from the end with vegetables, roll 1-2 rounds first until you reach the center of the rice paper.
- Then fold both sides inwards.
- Then continue rolling and before you reach the end include 2 strands of chives to give the roll a smart looking tail.
- Continue to roll till you reach the other end.
- Serve immediately and don’t forget your dipping sauce!
- Personally, I prefer to use pork shoulder butt which has less fats.
- To ensure that you enjoy the freshness, serve rolls within 2 hours of wrapping.