July 25th, 2013
Spring rolls are rolled appetizers that are commonly found in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. In some restaurants, they are called fresh spring rolls, or summer rolls. You should also note that “spring rolls” can mean the Vietnamese fried egg rolls that are different from the Chinese egg roll, which explains the emphasis on “fresh” in some instances. So as always, it’s best to read the dish’s description.
This recipe here uses rice paper, otherwise known as spring roll wrappers, or bánh tráng (in Vietnamese). Because this entire dish is made one roll at a time using prepared ingredients, it can actually be an interactive lunch or dinner in which each person is responsible for rolling their own spring rolls. Not only that, but by doing it one roll at a time, you can easily store the ingredients, and continue making more at a later time when you are hungry again. If you wish to make all of the spring rolls in advance, you can let them sit out a few hours, tightly covered in plastic wrap so that the rice paper does not dry out. When stored in the refrigerator, the rice paper will harden, so it is best to reheat the spring rolls by steaming them rather than the microwave.
A good thing about this recipe is that you aren’t limited to using pork (or shrimp, for that matter). You can just as easily use other meats, such as our Old Neighborhood Shaved Chicken and Shaved Steak, or a combination of any. Another thing to note is that since there are so many preparatory steps, it is quite convenient to work with Old Neighborhood shaved meats since they are sliced thin and can cook very quickly. That and it turns out to be a quite healthy dish (minus the peanut sauce!) since you’re working with vegetables, rice products, and 100% meat that are all low in fat and low in sodium. Tasty and healthy!
For those who are following a gluten free diet, just be sure to check the labels of your soy sauce (or just use tamari sauce in this case), sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and peanut butter. For anyone that wants to avoid the peanut sauce altogether, alternative sauces include plain hoisin sauce, a sweet chili sauce, or a fish sauce chili mixture, which unfortunately, aren’t described here. But! Season your pork well enough and you won’t even need to worry about sauce!
Do note that the recipe below cooks the pork in two different ways: stir-fried and boiled. If you’re okay with that, continue on. Else, you can hop over the to recipe page, where only the stir-fry shaved pork method is described.
Pork & Shrimp Spring Rolls
• 1 1-lb. package Old Neighborhood Shaved Pork
• ½ package of frozen shrimp, thawed (or ½ lb. fresh shrimp) – shells on, headless and deveined
• 1 package of vermicelli noodles
• 1 package of 8.5” round rice paper (spring roll wrapper) – larger size is fine; you will just have to stuff it more
• 1 cucumber, cut into 3 ½ inch long slices
• few stalks of chives, cut into 5 inch long pieces (optional)
• garlic powder
• soy sauce
• black pepper
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• ¾ cup peanut butter
• 1/3 cup water
• 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
• 2 tbsp. lime juice
• 4 ½ tsp. soy sauce
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 2 ¼ tsp. chili paste
• 1 tbsp. toasted or plain sesame oil
1. Whisk/Mix all of the ingredients for the Peanut Sauce and set aside.
2. Prep the Pork:
For this recipe demonstration, I dealt with the pork in two ways. I will describe both ways here, but for the recipe page, I will only list the marinate pork.
• Marinated Pork: Mix ½ lb. shaved pork, ½ tsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 tsp. pepper. Set aside
• Seasoned Pork: Mix ½ lb. shaved pork, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. black pepper. Set aside.
3. Heat a small pot of water with ½ tsp salt. When the water boils, dump the shrimp in, shells on.
4. Cook until the thickest part of the shrimp is opaque in color (timing varies with shrimp size).
5. Remove the shrimp from the water. Remove the shell, and cut each shrimp in half, from “head” to tail. Set aside
6. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the package directions. I had to cook mine for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
7. Separate the lettuce, leaf by leaf. Set aside.
8. Cut the cucumber into roughly 3 ½ long slices, and the stalks of chives into 5 inch long pieces. Set aside.
9. Cook the pork:
• Version 1: In a small skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the marinated pork and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Set aside.
• Version 2: Heat a small pot of water (enough to comfortably hold the pork). When the water boils, add the seasoned pork. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Remove from heat, strain, and set aside.
10. Warm a pot of water. Do not let it boil. Transfer the water to a large bowl and set aside.
11. Take all the above ingredients and create an assembly line, or at least put everything within reasonable reach.
1. (Photo 1) Dip one sheet of rice paper in the bowl of warm water. Be sure to do this quickly, enough to cover the entire surface of the sheet. Do not let it soak in the water.
2. (Photo 2) Lay the sheet on a plate large enough to hold it. You will notice that the warm water softens the rice paper. Please note: If the water is too hot, then the rice paper will soften too much, and could easily tear in the following steps.
3. (Photo 3) Place a leaf of lettuce in the lower-third portion of the sheet that is closest to you. Add a slice of cucumber, and a few strands of the noodles. These amounts can be changed according to how much you want to load your spring roll.
4. (Photo 4) Add some of the pork on top of the noodles. Take the edge of the rice paper that is closest to you, fold it over the pork, and do half a roll forward, while tucking in the ingredients towards you.
5. (Photo 5) Place about three shrimp, cut side up a few inches above the rolled portion.
6. (Photo 6) Fold the sides inward. Place a few pieces of the chive where the shrimp lay.
7. Tuck and roll the rest of the sheet forward.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each new roll!
9. Serve with the peanut sauce, if applicable.