There are two main kinds of Vietnamese spring rolls: deep fried, and ‘uncooked’. The shrimp and meat in those is actually cooked, but otherwise these Vietnamese spring rolls are a fresh appetizer that is served at room temperature. Traditionally the shrimp and pork are boiled in salted water, but they retain more flavor by cooking them sous vide instead. The star of this dish is not the spring roll itself but the peanut dipping sauce.
Makes 8 spring rolls
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 200 grams/7 oz)
150 grams (5 oz) pork tenderloin
8 round sheets of rice paper
120 grams (4 oz) rice vermicelli
200 grams (7 oz) bean sprouts
8 leaves lettuce (washed and dried)
3 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
For the peanut dipping sauce
80 grams (1/2 cup) roasted peanuts
4 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp sambal oelek
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
sous vide juices from cooking the pork and shrimp + water as needed
Season the shrimp and pork tenderloin with salt, and vacuum seal.
Cook the pork and shrimp sous vide for 1 hour at 55C/131F (for the shrimp 30 minutes would suffice, but it is fine to leave it in a bit longer).
Take the shrimp and pork out of the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the juices. Allow the pork and shrimp to cool to room temperature.
Cut the shrimp into halves lengthwise and slice the pork into 16 slices.
Boil the rice vermicelli in salted water according to package instructions, then drain and rinse with cold running water.
For the dipping sauce, stir a minced garlic clove in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat until it starts to turn golden, then turn off the heat.
Add 80 grams peanuts, 4 tablespoons hoisin, 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, and the reserved sous vide juices.
Blend until smooth, adding water to get the desired consistency. If using an immersion blender, it is advisable to transfer the ingredients into a tall container before blending.
Place the bean sprouts in a colander or sieve and pour boiling water over them. This will not cook them but makes sure they are safe to eat.
To assemble the spring rolls, start by dipping a sheet of rice paper in hot water for 3 seconds only. The rice paper will continue to become softer after you’ve taken it out of the water, so don’t put it in longer.
Place a ‘sausage’ of rice vermicelli and bean sprouts on the center of the rice paper. Use 1/8 of the vermicelli and 1/8 of the bean sprouts. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of minced mint. Cover with a leave of lettuce, torn into pieces.
Roll the rice paper tightly around the vermicelli and vegetables until just covered. Then arrange pork and shrimp slices next to the roll, and fold in the sides. Make sure the pretty side of the shrimp faces downwards.
Now continue to roll up the rice paper tightly until the spring roll is closed.
Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.
This is great with an off-dry German (or Dutch, Apostelhoeve) Riesling.
This splendid method for preparing parsnips is called “parsnip planks” and turns humble parsnips into something that looks and tastes great. The caramelization brings out the sweetness of the parsnips.