Cook It. Blog It!
Homemade Vietnamese Spring/Summer Rolls
and Thai Tom Yum Shrimp Soup
I recently discovered this great little Asian store in town, called Shanghai Market. Jon and I are huge fans of all Asian food... Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and of course, Philippino (since Jon is half-Philippino). I spent nearly 1 hr. in there, even though it's just barely bigger than my own kitchen. The owners were delightful to talk to and offered so many words of advice on how to cook the various dishes I was inquiring about. The wife even offered to call me next time she attends an Asian Cooking class... YAY!
I walked away with the following items, plus some yummy fresh herbs & spices, to make 2 of my family's favorite dishes: Vietnamese Spring/Summer Rolls (a.k.a Goi Cuon) and Thai Tom Yum soup.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls
Spring Roll Skins
Fresh Raw Shrimp (figure around 1.5 per roll)
Vermicelli (one small package)
Vietnamese Pork (comes pre-cooked in a roll)
To make your Vietnamese Spring/Summer Rolls the first thing to do is to soak your spring roll skins in warm water until they are softened. In the meantime you can shell & cook some fresh raw shrimp, boil your Vermicelli until soft, thinly slice the Vietnamese pork roll (it comes pre-cooked), and slice up your fresh cilantro, mint & basil.
When you are ready to start rolling your Summer Rolls, it is best to set up your ingredients in assembly-line style so you can move through them rather quickly, because if your skins start to dry up they will break up as you roll them.
In this picture you can see my assembly line... the cooked vermicelli on the bottom right, followed by the thinly sliced pork in the middle bowl, the shelled & deveined shrimp, and finally the fresh cilantro, mint & basil up at the top :
Lay your moist spring roll skin down on a clean flat surface and pile up your ingredients near one end of the skin, in the order show above. Begin to tightly roll the skin around the fillings. You may mess up a couple of times and break the skin, but that is OK... practice makes perfect. I wasted a couple before I figured out just how tightly to roll them without tearing them. The best way to do this is to roll it once just so the fillings are barely covered, then you fold in the sides and then continue rolling it until it is all encompassed.
Refrigerate rolls until ready to serve.
Vietnamese Summer Rolls are not fried. They are commonly served cold as an appetizer with a dipping sauce. For the dipping sauce I mixed equal parts of the ready-made Spring Roll sauce with some Fish Sauce and served the rolls 3 to a plate like this:
Thai Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum Paste
Canned Straw Mushrooms
Fresh Raw Shrimp
Bring 3 cups of water to boil and add 2 spoonfuls of Tom Yum Paste to create your savory broth. As the water is boiling add your raw, shelled & deveined shrimp. Continue boiling for 2 - 3 minutes until the shrimp are pink. Remove from stove and add the straw mushrooms and fresh cilantro to your soup.
Right before serving squeeze about a half fresh lime into the broth and garnish with more fresh cilantro. Voila! Savory Tom Yum Soup:
You can also add cooked vermicelli into this soup (like I did on ours) but the traditional Tom Yum does not have noodles.
If you want to create a milder version for the kiddos, mix your tom yum broth with about equal parts of chicken broth. If your kids (or you) cannot tolerate spicy foods at all, you can always make this with just the chicken broth and add the lime & herbs for flavor.