Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 07/25/2020
Originally an invention of the Chinese, Spring Rolls "chun juan" were made from the early spring vegetable crop, wrapped in thin crepe-like sheets and fried. This basic dish has been since adapted by other Asian and Western cultures including Thailand, Japan and Vietnam.
The Vietnamese and Thai use the rice or tapioca based wrappers that you can find in many grocery stores and this style spring roll is typically served fresh, not fried. This rolls are referred to as summer rolls or fresh rolls. Another related version is Lumpia common in the Philippines. Lumpia is typically fried.
These wrappers are used in similar ways. The wonton and gyoza wrappers can be substituted for one another. Neither would be a substitute for fresh rolls but could be used if you are making a fried spring roll.
Vietnamese summer rolls, also referred to as fresh rolls are made are not fried but are made with fresh ingredients and are eaten cold, typically with a dipping sauce. They only require a few ingredients which you can easily vary based on what you have on hand. You'll need rice paper / tapioca sheet wrappers (or even fresh butter lettuce), fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, basil and a few vermicelli noodles. Other fillings may include fresh mushrooms, tofu, shrimp or lobster or even leftover beef roast or steak. You can add vegetables like fresh cucumber, carrots and daikon.
Note: If the spring rolls are falling apart make sure the wrapper is drained well and don't overfill the wrapper before folding.
Cut each spring roll in half making a diagonal cut. Serve cold or room temperature with dipping sauce. The rolls can stay covered in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. They can be packed and served for lunches and outings.
As appetizer, serve one or two per person. As a main course, count on at least three per person.
These summer rolls are made with fresh shrimp, carrot, mushrooms, thin vermicelli noodles and fresh mint. Served with a peanut sauce and a soy-ginger sauce.