Everyone seems to love Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce. I too love these crunchy salad rolls bursting with the flavour of fresh herbs and vegetables that are all naturally gluten free.
In my hands-on cooking class featuring rice noodles students make these salad rolls. People often find them to be a bit of a challenge at first but once they roll up a few and figure out how much filling to use they come together easily. We usually eat the first few and put the nicer looking ones on a tray for the table.
Making these is a great activity to do with friends…and wine. This way you will see how easy it really is when you’ve done the prep in advance. Working with rice paper is a skill but you can certainly learn it.
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I like to prepare all the ingredients including the nuoc cham sauce the day before I make and serve my salad rolls to company. Then when guests are about to arrive I just line up all the containers on the counter; soft rice vermicelli, grated carrot, chopped lettuce, cooked shrimp and fresh herbs. Next I fill a large bowl with hot water for soaking the rice paper (I know exactly which bowl to use for this purpose). Then the little assembly line is ready so you can pour the wine and begin rolling.
Nuoc mam is the Vietnamese word for fish sauce and nuoc cham is the traditional dipping sauce that is made with fish sauce. It is my favourite but I also see salad rolls served with hoisin sauce or peanut sauce so serve it how you like it. Here is my homemade Peanut Sauce recipe.
Got vegan friends? Someone allergic to fish? Try this Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute so everyone can enjoy Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
Rice paper wrappers are made from a mixture of rice flour, water and salt then rolled and dried into very brittle, thin shapes. The round papers are used for salad rolls and spring rolls, while the triangular ones are traditionally used at the table to wrap grilled foods. The wrappers are often sold in hard plastic containers and should be stored flat in the container or an air tight plastic bag. If left open they will curl up and loose their shape.
To use them soften sheets one at a time in hot water. Slip the wrapper into the water for less than a minute until it becomes flexible enough to work with. Place the wrapper on the counter or a cutting board and add a small amount of filling on the bottom third of the wrapper. Fold the bottom up to cover the filling. Then fold the two sides into the middle. Now roll the filling up until you have a small sausage shape roll.
I roll up about 12 or 24 salad rolls at a time depending on the occasion. Place them in a single layer on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. They can be stored in the fridge for up to 8 hours before serving.
Salad rolls can be served whole or cut in half. You can garnish your plates or platter with the fresh herbs that you used in the filling. When I want an idea for a different presentation I just type the name of my recipe into the Google Images search bar and voila, more ideas than I have time to look at.
I’d love to hear in the comments below how your salad roll wrapping worked out.
|rice paper wrappers|
|cooked shrimp, halved horizontally (3 halves per salad roll)|
|fine rice noodles|
|lettuce, finely shredded|
|carrot, finely shredded|
|cilantro, Thai basil and/or mint leaves|
|NUOC CHAM DIPPING SAUCE|
|½ tsp crushed chiles|
|½ Tbsp vinegar|
|½ cup fish sauce|
|¼ cup lime juice|
|¾ cup warm water|
|½ small carrot, shredded|
|2 cloves garlic, minced|
|½ cup sugar|
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