Spring Rolls & Dipping Sauces


Spring Roll

Either the Chinese egg roll wrappers or the Vietnamese rice paper wrappers may be used for this dish. I particularly enjoy the rice paper wrappers, which are Vietnamese but made mostly in Thailand. They need to be dampened before use, but I find they fry up crisper and lighter than the ready-to-use egg roll skins. Whichever wrapper you use, fry the spring rolls in hot oil, about 350 degrees. In order for the interior filling to cook through, it should take about 5 minutes total to fry up a batch of spring rolls on both sides.

Notice that the non-traditional ground turkey is used in the filling. The turkey is quite lean and the pork more fatty. Combining the two results in a flavorful filling with firmer texture and less fat. If desired, you may be traditional and use all ground pork. This recipe makes about 10 to 12 spring rolls.

  • 1 package round rice paper wrappers or square egg roll skins
  • 1 egg, beaten (for rice paper wrappers only)
  • 1 small bowl of water or beer
  • peanut oil for frying
  • lettuce leaves (optional)
  • 2 ounces bean thread noodles
  • 4 large dried cloud ear or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup small bay shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small green chili, stemmed, seeded and minced (serrano or bird chile)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
Kate's Dipping Sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

To Make Dipping Sauces:

Combine all ingredients for each sauce in separate bowls. Mix thoroughly. Allow for flavors to blend while you are making the spring rolls.

To Make Spring Rolls:

Soak the bean thread noodles in hot water until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. At the same time, soak the mushrooms in hot water until soft, about 10 or 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and squeeze out the excess water.

Roughly chop the noodles into 1/2 inch lengths. Place them in a medium mixing bowl. Chop the mushrooms and shrimp into small pieces and add them to the bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands until well blended.

If Using Rice Paper Wrappers, brush about 3 of them at a time with water or beer and place them on a plate large enough to hold them. Cover with a damp towel. In about 2 minutes, check to see if any of the wrappers have become soft and pliable. If they are at all brittle, let them continue to rest, brushing again with liquid if necessary. To fill a softened wrapper, spread it out on a flat surface. Spoon enough filling along the lower area of the wrapper to make a thick cylinder. Fold the bottom piece over the cylinder, roll up one turn, then fold the sides in. Brush the top of the wrapper with beaten egg and roll the cylinder all the way up, sealing the edges in and the wrapper shut. Set aside, seam-side down, while you make the other spring rolls.

If Using Egg Roll Wrappers, place the square with the bottom corner pointing at you. Place a small amount of filling in the lower third to form a cylinder. Fold over the bottom corner of the wrapper, roll up one turn, then fold in the sides. Dip your finger in water and run it along the upper edge. Roll up the cylinder, sealing the edges in and the seam shut. Set aside, seam-side down, while you make the other spring rolls.

In a deep sided wok or pan, heat enough oil to come up 1/2 the depth of the spring rolls. The oil should be about 350 degrees, or hot enough to fry the spring rolls inside and out in roughly 5 minutes. Do not crowd the rolls in the pan. Cook only about 5 or 6 at a time, turning them over as each side becomes golden brown. Drain the spring rolls on paper towels.

Serve the spring rolls hot with one or both of the dipping sauces. The rice paper spring rolls taste best eaten if Vietnamese style, by wrapping each one in a fresh lettuce leaf and then dipping into the sauce.

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997—Kate Heyhoe. All Rights Reserved.

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