Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are packed with bright, fresh flavours and served with an insanely addictive Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce that takes a minute to make. With a couple of cheeky tricks, step by step photos and an easy to follow video, you’ll be rolling perfect rice paper rolls like a pro in no time!
If I took a platter of these to a gathering with my friends, I guarantee they’d be one of the first things to go. Everybody I know loves these. Even the hardest of hard-core carnivores munch these down as enthusiastically as they would a rack of ribs.
They truly are that good.
Vietnamese food is my idea of the ultimate “accidently healthy” food. Sure, there are a handful of deep fried recipes. But generally, most Vietnamese dishes are super fresh, full of bright flavours, loaded with herbs and salads, with just a bit of protein. Dressings and sauces are refreshingly light and devoid of oil, unlike basically every Western dressing!
I think that Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are one of those things that people love but always assume are just too fiddly or too hard to make. To dispel of that myth, let me tell you – I am not into fiddly. That’s why you’ll never see fancy decorated cakes on my blog. I simply don’t have the patience or co-ordination for fiddly dishes – sweet or savoury.
I actually posted this recipe way back when I started my blog. A couple of years on, and my photos have somewhat improved but more importantly – VIDEO! I REALLY wanted to remake this with a video, it is so great to be able to demonstrate how to make these rolls.
In addition to the video, I have 2 little tips that can make your Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll Making Life so much easier:
- Bundle up fly-away bits inside a piece of lettuce. I like making these with bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles (other filling suggestions in the recipe notes). Until you get your rolling technique down pat, bundle it up in lettuce before rolling it in the rice paper. This holds the “stuff” together which makes it so much easier to roll the rice paper and it will also prevent things like bean sprouts, carrots, cucumber etc from piercing the rice paper;
- Use two rice paper sheets – again, this is a tip while you are an up-and-coming Rice Paper Roll Master. It is much easier to handle when rolling. The downside is that the ends are a touch chewy, because there’s triple / quadruple layers. But it’s not tough chewy, not in the least bit. It’s just chewy compared to how soft and fragile a single layer of rice paper is. It doesn’t deter me at all. My mother noticed it, but it didn’t stop her from hoeing down 4 of these in minutes. Never fails to amazes me that a woman of a certain age can consume so much so quickly. (PS She came over to be my hand model for the video, this was a tough one to shoot by myself!)
PS The reason the prawns and lettuce bundle are laid out in different positions on the rice paper is so there is only layer of rice paper on the prawns once rolled up – makes the prawns more visible. Ie Pretty rolls.
Oh! And before I forget – THE PEANUT SAUCE! This peanut sauce is everything!! This is a Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce. The 2 key ingredients are peanut butter and hoisin sauce which is thinned out with either milk or water (I prefer milk for colour. With water, the sauce is darker). Plus vinegar for a bit of tang (really needs it), garlic (it ain’t Asian if there’s no garlic in it!) and a touch of chilli if you want (which I love).
It’s different to Thai / Malaysian / Chinese style peanut sauces and I think you and this Vietnamese Peanut Sauce are going to be very good friends. 🙂
So…..what do you think? 🙂 Have I convinced you to try your hand at becoming a Rice Paper Roll Master?? – Nagi xx
PS There are a bunch of other filling ideas in the recipe notes. I’ve kept this fairly classic.
PPS Even if they are wonky, they still taste incredible!!!
PPPS If you want to come across as too-cool-for-school but really, you’ve just run out of time to roll these, do a DIY spread. Lay out all the ingredients with a large bowl of water for dipping the rice paper in, then make everyone make their own. This DIY approach is a menu item on Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney which is very popular, I always order it!
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are incredibly fresh and healthy. The Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce that accompanies this is sensational and completely addictive! Easy to follow video below so you can master these rolls in no time!
- 7 - 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5" round rice paper (Note 1)
- 11 small cooked prawns/shrimp (about 12cm/5" in length, unpeeled including the head)
- 50g / 1.5 oz dried vermicelli noodles
- 7 lettuce leaves - use a lettuce with soft leaves, like Oak or Butter Lettuce (Note 2)
- 14 mint leaves
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 tbsp peanut butter, preferably smooth (crunchy is ok too)
- 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lime juice)
- 1/3 cup milk (any fat %) (or water) (Note 3)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed chilli, samba oelak or other chilli paste, adjust to taste (optional)
Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients. Mix briefly (it won't come together), then microwave for 30 seconds. Mix again until smooth. Set aside to cool. Adjust sour with vinegar, salt with salt and spiciness to taste. Thickness can be adjusted with milk or water once cooled.
Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain (or follow packet instructions).
Peel the prawns, slice in half lengthwise and devein (watch video).
Remove the crunchy core of the lettuce leaves (watch video).
Tip - LETTUCE BUNDLE (Note 4): Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, then roll it up, finishing seam side down. Repeat.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn't need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.
Place two rice papers together (if using 2). Note which side is the smooth side - this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn't large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that's fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
Place both the rice papers (one on top of the other, they will stick together) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.
On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between, as per the photo below.
Place the lettuce bundle with the seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper.
Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up to cover the lettuce bundle. Then keep rolling firmly. The rice paper is sticky, it will seal itself.
If you placed the ingredients on the rice paper as per the photo below, your rice paper rolls should look pretty with the prawn and mint leaves on the smooth side of the roll and the seam on the side or underside of the roll.
Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.
1. Tip to make your rice paper roll life easier: use 2 rice papers per roll. Easier to handle and less prone to tearing. The ends of the roll where there are quadruple layers of rice paper will be a bit chewier, but not super chewy, it is still soft.
Nowadays, rice paper is sold even at supermarkets here in Australia, in the Asian section. It's super good value too!
2. I use butter or oak lettuce because they are softer and more pliable than iceberg which makes it perfect for rolling up. Iceberg and other crunchy lettuce doesn't work as well because they break when you scrunch them, and are prone to tearing the rice paper. If you can't find a soft lettuce, then I suggest shredding the lettuce - it will make it much easier to handle!
3. Milk doesn't add flavour to the sauce, it just makes it a lighter colour so you know it's a peanut sauce. This is the colour the sauce is at most Vietnamese restaurants. So you can use water if you prefer, but the sauce will be a darker brown.
4. My tip for rolling these up is to wrap the bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles in the lettuce then roll it up and/or scrunch it lightly so it stays together. Then roll it up in the rice paper. Much easier to handle!
5. STORAGE: Some recipes will tell you that you can make rice paper rolls the day before and you can keep them moist with a damp paper towel. Firstly, I find that the rice paper rolls smelt like the paper towel and secondly, they didn't hold up that great anyway. My rule of thumb is 6 hours (max 8) - you can make them up to 6 hours ahead, tightly wrap each one in cling wrap as soon as you make them and refrigerate. Don't just put them on a plate and put cling wrap on the plate, you should roll up each on in cling wrap (you should be able to fit 2 per piece of cling wrap - wrap one first, then place another next to it and roll up with the remaining cling wrap).
DIY OPTION: A popular menu item at Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney are DIY rice paper rolls. So lay out all the components in this recipe out on a table with a large bowl of water, and let everyone make their own!
6. OTHER FILLING IDEAS:
* Julienned vegetables like carrots, cucumbers
* Alfalfa, watercress and other similar shaped vegetables
* Thinly sliced tofu
* Shredded chicken and other proteins
* Other herbs like coriander/cilantro, chives (this is classic Viet)
7. ORIGINAL PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE: As requested by a reader! The one provided in the recipe is more authentic and akin to what you get at Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney. But here is the original one, FYI:
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis, it's thick like syrup)
2 small garlic cloves (or 1 large), minced
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
Mix together ingredients, using water to thin to a dippable consistency.
8. Nutrition per rice paper roll, no sauce.
Originally posted in July 2014, updated with new words, an even better peanut dipping sauce, new photos and a video!
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls recipe video. Thanks to my mother for being the hand model – this was too tough to shoot by myself!
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