Goi cuon means ‘salad roll’ or ‘rolled salad’ but it is best known as ‘fresh spring roll’. They are rice paper rolls filled with fresh vegetables and herbs, meat, fish or vegetarian. For a complete meal, they are often supplemented with rice vermicelli and served with different dipping sauces. The fresh spring rolls become increasingly well-known in the Netherlands, it is to everyone’s taste. So in return, in the Netherlands we finally can get rid of the idea that the fried spring rolls are the authentic Vietnamese dish, falsely seen for decades as such because Vietnamese were finding a living by selling the fried spring rolls on markets and in shopping malls. I’ve been trying to put this right in my article This is not a spring roll.

Goi cuon is a ready-made spring roll, but mostly rice paper dishes are rolled at the diner table by yourself. Then all the ingredients will be placed in large and small bowls and plates to share. On the side of the table there is a large bowl of hot water in which the rice paper is soaked and you often have a choice for several dipping sauces. Fresh vegetables and herbs exist in the base of lettuce, coriander, mint, cucumber, and you can add to taste mixed lettuce and other fresh herbs. Which additional dips and exotic herbs come as extra depends on the particular rice paper dish.

If you want to serve spring rolls ready-to-eat, do this up to 2 hours in advance to avoid the fresh ingredients from drying. There are several dishes with rice paper with its own distinctive dip and side dishes. Fondues of meat or fish are also part of that.

The spring roll filling depends on personal preference and recipe. But even without a recipe, you can go wild with fresh spring rolls, because almost everything tastes good between the light salted rice paper. Here are some suggestions for different types of fillings.

Basics

  • hot water from kettle (also standby to refresh)
  • rice paper 22 cm (best and most used format)
  • rice noodles, cooked according to instructions and let it cool
  • garnish basis: coriander, mint, Thai basil, (mixed) lettuce, cucumber
  • extra garnish to taste: green mango, sour apple such as Granny Smith, star fruit carambola, dill, perilla, pickled carrot Dua ca rot, etc.

Dipping sauces
These dips are often used for fresh spring rolls. The dips may be garnished with roasted peanuts, sesame seed, cucumber, papaya, daikon, carrot, etc.

  • basic fish dipping sauce Nuoc cham (all spring rolls)
  • hoisin dipping sauce Nuoc tuong ngot (classic and vegetarian spring rolls)
  • vegetarian sauce Mam chay (vegetarian spring rolls)
  • fill in for yourself

On the dinner table

  1. Put the boiled water in a large deep bowl or large bowl. Soak the rice paper, not too long, once going around in the water is sufficient.
  2. Put the rice paper on a plate. Arrange the ingredients on the rice paper, not too generous because then the role will tear. The recommended order is: vermicelli, mixed lettuce, cucumber, meat, shrimp and then the fresh herbs. But above all try to develop your own preferences.
  3. Everyone gets their own bowl of sauce for dipping the spring rolls. You put every other dipping sauce in another bowl to change the dipping taste.
  4. Refresh the water to soak the rice paper when it gets cold.

The following spring rolls can be rolled separately or in combination.

The classic fres spring roll
The classic fresh spring roll is a combination of shrimp and pork, preferably pork belly. I like to fill the classic fresh spring roll with steamed squid and boiled eggs.

Ingredients

  • 125 g shrimp, peeled
  • 125 g pork belly or less fat pork

Preparation

  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Place the pork belly in and let simmer 10 minutes (depending on amount and thickness).
  2. Remove the pork belly from the pan and let cool. Cut the pork belly into thin bite-sized slices.
  3. Blanch the prawns in the same water until they are pink. Remove from pan and let cool. Cut the shrimp lengthwise or leave whole.
  4. Roll the shrimp and/or pork belly in rice paper with rice vermicelli and the garnish.
  5. Dip in the sauce of your choice.

 

Vegetarian fresh spring roll
This vegetarian fresh spring roll consists of fried tofu with various vegetables of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic, minced
  • fried tofu, homemade or ready-to-eat
  • dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and cut into julienne
  • carrots, julienned
  • other vegetables: cabbage, jicama, etc. to taste
  • pinch of salt, soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce to taste

Preparation

  1. Fry the garlic in hot oil until fragrant.
  2. Add the tofu, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and other vegetables.
  3. Add salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar to taste and stir well.
  4. Roll the stir-fried tofu and vegetables in rice paper with rice vermicelli and the garnish.
  5. Dip in the sauce of your choice.

 

Fresh spring roll with lemon grass beef
The marinade for the beef comes from the dish Bun bo xao xa.

Ingredients

  • 250 g steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, crushed and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • black pepper
  • pickled carrot Dua ca rot (optional)

Preparation

  1. Grind the lemongrass, garlic, onion, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper into a fine paste. Marinate the steak with it for at least 1 hour.
  2. Fry the beef over high heat untill brown.
  3. Roll in rice paper some meat with rice vermicelli and the garnish. Serve with pickled carrot Dua ca rot.
  4. Dip in the sauce of your choice.