Recipe: Vietnamese Spring Rolls

This is another recipe from the exclusive vault of my mother (and favorite chef). It’s a basic recipe that has so many variations, you can make it to fit anyone’s tastes. These fresh spring rolls are easy to make and are great for a light lunch or as an appetizer. If you don’t have time to make the tangy dipping sauce, try the spring rolls with prepared chili sauce or chili vinegar.

Spring Rolls

1 container rice paper wrappers, about 8 1/2-9 inches in diameter
Water for soaking
Carrots, julienned
Cucumbers, julienned
Green onions, julienned
Bean sprouts
Avocado, sliced (optional)
Thin rice noodles, cooked
Napa cabbage, chopped
Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, or mint)
Baked tofu, julienned
Chopped peanuts
Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
Sesame ginger sauce for drizzling
Black sesame seeds for garnishing the top of each roll

  • Soften the rice paper in a dish of water or run under the faucet for 10 seconds, or until very soft and translucent. Lay them flat on your work area.
  • Toss the carrots, cucumbers, green onions, bean sprouts, avocado, rice noodles, cabbage, herbs, tofu, and peanuts together to create a filling. (You can also add the ingredients to the rice paper separately, if desired.)
  • Add the filling, leaving space 1/3 of an inch around the edges of the rice paper. Drizzle with sesame ginger sauce and roll once, then turn the ends in and continue firmly rolling, being careful not to tear the rice paper. After rolling, put the rolls into a 9-inch-by-11-inch glass or plastic container (do not stack or they will stick together).
  • Cover with a damp towel and refrigerate. Cut in half diagonally. If they become too dry, brush with water to soften.

Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. minced garlic (1 clove)
1 dash red pepper flakes
1 dash cilantro (optional)

  • Heat the water, cornstarch, sugar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and minced ginger in a saucepan until the liquid begins to thicken
  • Add the sesame oil, sesame seeds, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and cilantro.
  • Serve cool as a sauce or a dip with spring rolls.

Posted by Jason Baker