Can I tell you a little story? It stars yours truly, so it’s bound to be entertaining (ha ha). When I was pregnant with my fourth child, I had a craving. It was a very specific craving and it begged to be satisfied. It was a craving for Vietnamese Spring Rolls from a local Vietnamese restaurant. I would be up, at 2am, wanting these things so badly I was *almost* willing to trade my first born for them. We resorted to buying huge orders of these delectable rolls and keeping them in the fridge – just in case. Fast forward a few years when an angel came into my life. This angel came in the form of a friend, a Vietnamese friend, who taught me the magical art of making these exact spring rolls for myself. I was in heaven (Love you, Thu!)
Now, I am paying it forward by sharing her amazing recipe with you – yeah, I kinda like you 🙂 Stick with me and you will learn how to make these amazing Vietnamese Spring Rolls like the pros! Believe me – if I can do it, so can you!
The great thing about this recipe is, you will have heard of most of these ingredients and you might even have a bunch of them on hand! Gotta love that! You’ll need:
- 5lb bag of carrots, shredded (I use my food processor. It lends to my lazy food prep. tendencies)
- one bunch green onions (about 8), chopped fine
- 4 lb ground pork
- 2 large onions (yellow or white), chopped fine (again, I used my trusty food processor to make quick work of these bad boys)
- 8 whole eggs
- 4 egg yolks (You’ll use these to seal the deal..er…wrappers)
- 3 bags rice vermicelli noodles (I like Rooster Brand, but any brand will work)
- 4 pkgs. Springroll wrappers (50/pkg – found in frozen food section, and looks like pastry sheets)
Here is a photo of the exact brand I buy, except this photo shows the larger wrappers that come in packages of 20, instead of 50. They were out of the smaller ones. My good friend (who taught me to make these) swears by this brand, and so do I! Look for the TYJ Spring Roll Pastry!
- 2 lbs (or so) bean sprouts
- 2 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
- 2 Cups Oyster sauce (I have used several different kinds and I haven’t noticed a huge difference in flavor. Find whichever brand your supermarket carries and roll with it)
(ha ha, I just noticed that I took a photo of the FRENCH side of the label. Welcome to Canadian product labels, everyone!)
- Oil for deep frying (I use Canola oil)
Let’s get this party started!
1. THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Okay, this is important. THE NIGHT BEFORE, soak the vermicelli noodles in a pot of hot water for about 10 minutes, or until they become soft. Drain and leave overnight (just sitting in a bowl on the counter). You want the noodles to be fairly dry for this. Don’t worry, they won’t dry back out over night. Just let them have a night to themselves, because tomorrow…the party begins!
Also, THE NIGHT BEFORE, take those spring roll wrappers out of the freezer and pop them in the fridge, so they will be thawed for all of the fun in the morning. Good? Good!
2. Good morning! Ready to make some spring rolls? Great! The worst part (for me) comes next. Why? Because we have to squeeze all of the “juice” out of the yellow onions and carrots. Why? We don’t want the extra moisture to ruin the spring rolls. This takes a little muscle, so break out those work out DVDs and get your arms toned and ready!
Usually, I use cheesecloth for this, but I was out, so I just used a tea towel. Place about a cup of the chopped onion in the middle of the cloth, gather the edges of the cloth up, and twist and squeeze out the juice into the sink.
Dump the “ringed out” onion into a very large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the onion, and then with the carrots.
3. Once the carrots and onion have been rung dry and added to a bowl, add in the ground pork, green onions, 8 whole eggs, vermicelli noodles, oyster sauce, salt, and pepper and mix really well with your hands.
4. Add in the bean sprouts, mixing gently so as not to break them up too much. You’ll end up with a large bowl of filling that looks….less than appetizing. BUT, it should already start to smell pretty darn good:
This makes it easier to wrap them and grasp each layer. If you have a kiddo or hubby or friend close by – assign them to wrapper duty. Just be careful because these are thin, pastry-like wrappers. Just peel them apart and lay them, one on top of the other, sort of off-kilter, on the diagonal. Then place a slightly damp cloth on the pile while you aren’t using them so they won’t dry out.
6. Now comes the fun part – assembling the rolls!! Woot, woot! Here is a little diagram to show you how to roll these babies:
You will need about one heaping tablespoon of filling for each small wrapper – and if you are using the larger kind, you’ll need closer to two heaping Tbsp of filling for each roll. Place the filling in the middle of the wrapper, with the corner pointing towards you. Pull up the bottom corner to cover the filling, and pull slightly towards yourself. Fold in the left and right corners and finish rolling to the top corner. Dip your finger in the egg yolk and wet the upper corner before folding over and sealing. I hope this process makes sense. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
Let me warn you – this makes a LOT! Pop in your favorite movie (hello, “The Princess Bride”) and prepare to spend some quality time with these babies. You’ll end up with a LOT of uncooked spring rolls:
7. Time to get cooking! Fill a large metal pot with cooking oil and heat over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium. Test the heat by dropping only one spring roll in the oil. It should immediately start to sizzle and boil slightly. It should take about 9-10 minutes to turn a nice, golden brown. If it doesn’t start to sizzle and boil, the oil isn’t quite hot enough. Turn up the heat, a little, and try again. If it starts to get too dark before the 10 minutes is up, it is too hot. Turn the heat down a little more and wait for five minutes, then try again. It may take a little trial and error, but once you get the right temperature, it will stay that way while you finish cooking. It should look something like this when you first drop the spring roll in:
8. Cook your spring rolls in batches of 4-5. When they turn golden brown (usually after 9 or 10 minutes), remove with a slotted spoon and place to dry on a drying rack with paper towel underneath to catch any dripping oil. There shouldn’t be too much, though. Oh mercy, but they look good:
I like to let them completely cool, then store them in a freezer bag in the freezer. They are so easy to take out, pop in the oven for 15 minutes, and enjoy any time! Of course, I always have to sample one or two (or six) just to make sure they taste as delicious as the last time I made them 🙂
One little tip when it’s time to eat – we love to dip these babies in some sweet thai chili sauce. Drool-worthy, I promise!
I know they are a bit labor-intensive, but OH so worth it. You will thank me later, I promise 🙂 Enjoy!