entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: giao trac’s vietnamese spring rolls

by Grace Bonney

Many of you may not know that living in Italy is bittersweet as far as food is concerned. Great Italian! Not great choices for other types of food! So I am always on the lookout for great recipes to bring that diversity to my life. This week’s recipe for Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce comes to us from Giao Trac (pronounced like “Ciao!”) from KissMySpatula.com. It’s easy easy easy to make and personalize! You’re already craving Vietnamese food today aren’t you? –Kristina

About Giao: Though Giao began her career as a management consultant for Fortune 500 clients, she’s always had a deep love for good design, and for good food. After pouring blood, sweat and tears into a two year design and remodel, Giao stepped foot into her new kitchen and never left. She began recreating her own version of restaurant favorites and whipping up homemade supermarket staples from scratch. Why go out to buy soy milk, goat cheese, baguettes, hummus, mustard or ketchup when you can make them in the comforts of home? Her food is simple, seasonal, local and organic whenever possible. She’s transferred her passion of interior design into web design and photography –with an etsy store and web design shop in the works, so stay tuned. Until then, she chronicles her homemade culinary adventures at Kiss My Spatula.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Hoisin Peanut Sauce

For the vegetarians/vegans out there, feel free to substitute the shrimp with grilled tofu. And for all you carnivores, simply add grilled pork, beef or chicken. In addition, mix and match any of your favorite vegetables.

For the rolls:

** 1 lb. fresh shrimp

** 1 cucumber, cut into thin, long strips

** 1 red pepper, cut into thin long strips

** 1 head of green lettuce, any kind

** 1 bunch cilantro

** 1 bunch mint

** Rice paper

** Rice vermicelli noodles
For the dipping sauce:

** 1 large clove garlic, minced

** 1 tsp olive oil

** 1/4 cup organic peanut butter

** 2 tsp. hoison sauce

** 1/4 cup water (more if needed)

** Sriracha chili sauce (optional)


Bring a saucepan to a boil on medium heat. Add shrimp and poach for 3-4 minutes until bright pink. Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove skins, devein and slice in half crosswise. Set aside. Bring a medium saucepan filled halfway with water to a boil. Once a rapid boil is reached, add rice vermicelli noodles, cover and immediately remove from heat. Set timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, drain noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Allow to dry at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, begin to prepare the dipping sauce. Heat a small small saucepan with olive oil on medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute quickly, about 20 seconds. Do not let garlic burn. Add peanut butter and hoisin sauce and continue to stir. When sauce begins to incorporate and thickens up, add water. Adjust to taste and continue to add water, 1 tbsp. at a time, if it becomes too thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble rolls, dip single sheets of rice paper into hot water. Allow excess water to drain and quickly place on a plate. Once rice paper becomes pliable and soft, add shrimp, softened noodles, cucumbers, red peppers, cilantro and mint. Carefully roll closed and slice in half. Serve with hoisin peanut dipping sauce.

Why Giao Picked This Recipe:

Close to my heart, this is a dish from my motherland of Vietnam. It reminds me of family, community and love. It’s also one of the most versatile dishes I know. Eaten in any season. Filled with any ingredient. Served for any course. I’ve even held an entire dinner party where all guests got involved, learned how to make their own rolls and ate to their hearts content. Vietnamese spring rolls are healthy, ridiculously easy, and super fun to prepare and eat.

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  • Those look yummy! I know what you mean about finding other cuisines in Italy. When I studied there in college we would buy white rice and scallions from the one Chinese restaurant we could find so that we could make our own asian food. We couldn’t even find scallions in the markets!

  • Beautiful pictures! And I can’t wait to try your version of the dipping sauce… hm, maybe I’ll make these for a party tomorrow…

  • oh, i love vietnamese food SO MUCH, but i’ve yet to try it at home-i think this is the kick i need. because i’m an avocado junkie, i may slip a few slices into these bad boys as well. your photos are stunning!

  • Thank you everyone for the sweet comments!

    Grace and Kristina, a big thank you to you both again – it was such fun and such an honor to be able to contribute to this incredible column that’s a part of THE mecca for inspiration!

  • This recipe couldn’t be posted at a better time! I’ve been craving SO MUCH for vietnamese spring roll, i’ve been ordering it at vietnamese restaurant for the past few weeks. Now i can try to make it in my kitchen! :)

  • These were such a hit. My kids (ages 3 & 6) joined in the fun of making and rolling. Peanut hoisin sauce was the deal sealer — not one drop left. Thanks for sharing.

  • Moemo, YAY!! I’m so happy to hear it was such a hit and even moreso knowing your kids participated too. Hope you continue to enjoy them again and again!

    Thanks again everyone for taking the time to leave such kind words!

  • mmm these look amazing~ I’m going to make them tomorrow. (and I’m going to Vietnam next month, so it will get me prepped for some vietnamese flavor)

  • Salanth, It really depends on the size of the shrimp. For example, Jumbo shrimp average about 20 count per pound. When sliced crosswise, you have 40 to work with. Adding 4 per roll, would result in 10 large rolls. Slicing the rolls in half yields a total of 20 rolls. Not bad for a mere pound of shrimp!

  • Sadly, I’m pretty sure that it’s not even possible to get fresh shrimp where I live. Are frozen a sad substitute – should I look for some other filling? – or does it matter too much?

    My other question is – how well do these keep? Could I make them on Sunday and bring them to lunch on Monday/Tuesday or something, or do they need to be eaten right away?

    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a while.

  • Hi Emily, frozen shrimp are fine. Just allow them to thaw, or simply poach them for a minute or two longer. Keep an eye on them – you don’t want overcooked shrimp.

    The rolls are best eaten the same day. However, if made the night before and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap while refrigerated, they should be fine to bring for lunch the next day. Let them come to room temperature (to allow for the rice paper to soften again) and heat up the sauce for a few seconds in the microwave, and you’ll have yourself a healthy and tasty lunch!

  • What a pleasure to meet you. I’ve always wanted to make original spring rolls and here they are, in a superbly written recipe and with gorgeous pictures. I’m becoming an instant fan of your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  • My bf and I love this spring rolls but it is difficult to find them fresh in the city where we live. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I kept coming back to this page, staring at rolls for some time now.

    I should give it a try one of these days! haha Anyway, it’s summer here in the Philippines. Perfect!

  • Dear Giao,
    Some more spring rolls sound great. Haven’t had one for “Mi” tastes buds or my teeth to “Chu” on, in many a year. I hope that they are as good as they use to be. They use to just show up at the door; that was even easier. Great Food !

  • Hi Giao, made these with my 5 year old daughter tonight! She was so busy chewing it was quiet at the table! Hahaha! A rarity, as she usually is too lazy to chew and has too many things to say.

    I went to the French butcher in Amsterdam and bought one ready to use leg of confit the canard. Used only the dark meat, no fat. Was really good! It worked well and I thought it was historically correct with the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine and all…..
    Love, Saskia from Amsterdam.

  • hixxx!!DELICIOUS! and i miss it so much, im Vietnamese but live in another country now, so when i saw it here, i really miss it, just want to back VN now!

  • I first tasted these about a year ago when a small vietnamese restaurant opened near me. I don’t know why but i was scared to try anything on the menu, and these looked harmless. I just made these, yumm. So good! I think i’ll still buy them though, I love to support my local small businesses.