Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn) – Recipe

Vietnamese Salad Rolls Gỏi cuốn

I‘ve always loved Vietnamese Salad rolls (gỏi cuốn), and I’ve been making them off and on for decades, so I don’t know why I haven’t shared them with you guys before. If you haven’t had them, they are cool and refreshing, with a tender but slightly chewy rice paper wrapper surrounding thin rice noodles, lettuce, herbs, and your choice of other ingredients. For today’s version, I used shiso instead of lettuce for a more pronounced and complex herbal flavor.

If this is your first time making salad rolls, allow yourself a fair amount of time to prep all the ingredients and make the rolls. This isn’t a weeknight dinner for a busy family with young kids kind of thing. It will probably take you a few tries to get the hang of rolling them up neatly, but don’t worry, even your failures will still be delicious. This YouTube video is worth watching to see the right moves – you can skip to about 2:00 in to skip the cooking of the meat she’s using. You could also try her more traditional peanut and hoisin dipping sauce instead of the sweet chili version below.

Two of these rolls per person is a good sized appetizer; three and you are up into light lunch territory.

Oh: the kind of rice paper you want is like this. It should say bánh tráng on the package and not be flavored with anything like sesame.

Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Shiso and Tofu (Gỏi cuốn) – Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 12 rolls

2 or 3 rolls

Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Shiso and Tofu (Gỏi cuốn) – Recipe

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and kosher

    For the dipping sauce
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 3" only, crushed and minced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • For the rolls
  • 12 rice paper wrappers
  • 24 shiso leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves only
  • 1 bunch cilantro sprigs (leaves and tender stems)
  • 1/4 pound rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • 1 cucumber peeled, halved, and thinly sliced lengthwise, trimmed to 4" lengths
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 pound tofu, pan fried as in this recipe, cooled, and cut into 24 pieces
    For the dipping sauce
  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve.
  2. For the salad rolls
  3. Arrange all of the ingredients near your work surface. Fill a pie plate or other shallow pan large enough to hold one of the rice paper wrappers with very hot water.
  4. To make one roll, submerge a rice paper wrapper in the hot water for just a few seconds. It will still be fairly firm when you remove it. Don't worry, it will continue to hydrate while you arrange the ingredients.
  5. Place the wrapper on a flat surface. Near the edge closest to you, arrange 2 shiso leaves so they cover about 2/3rds of the width of the edge. Top with a few mint leaves and cilantro sprigs. Top with a small amount of rice noodles - this is hard to measure, but less than you think you should use. Now, in a line parallel to the first, but close to the center, place a slice of cucumber and a few pieces of carrot. Finally, parallel and close to the far edge, arrange two pieces of tofu.
  6. Begin by rolling completely around the herbs and noodles, slightly tucking under. Then fold in the edges like for a burrito, and then continue rolling to enclose the cucumber, carrot, and tofu. You want to use reasonably firm pressure but not enough to burst the wrapper. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it in just a few tries!

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Sauces and Condiments, Vegan or Modifiable.

14 Responses to “Vietnamese Salad Rolls (Gỏi cuốn) – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    May 22, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    I love these! When we make them we set up an assembly line with different people at each station. So yummy and perfect for the summer. A note about your serving sizes – I’ve been known to have 5 or 6 as a meal, but I might just like them a little too much 😉

    • Reply
      May 22, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      The assembly line is a good approach too! If you have enough hands to make short work of the job, that is all to the good. Yeah – I could probably eat that many and call it dinner too.

  2. Reply
    Talya B
    May 22, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    Once you’ve got the hang of these, they can be made very quickly. I made a very similar version today, for my lunch and my kids’ packed lunches. I made peanut sauce and prepped yesterday evening, soaked the (mung bean) vermicelli while I had a shower this morning, assembled the kids’ rolls while they had breakfast and mine in my lunchbreak. And we often have them for a weeknight dinner – I prep while everyone does homework, but we all roll our own at the table as we eat. Healthy, tasty and fun. I buy tofu already fried.

    • Reply
      May 22, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Very good point about letting everyone roll their own at the table. Good fun, and it makes it a lot faster too. Plus with kids they can customize which ingredients they like, which is always a plus.

  3. Reply
    May 22, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    I love these things. And I like you dipping sauce recipe — definitely will get added to our list of things to make. This recipe is also one where too many cooks is a good thing — the prep work can be easily done by 4 or 5 people working together, although it helps to have a couple of cutting boards. And the assembly is similar — much easier with several hands.

    When I make these, I do it on a plate that’s a little larger than the wrapper. The plate ends up wet, which helps soften the wrappers, but also helps contain the mess. I also use moderately warm water rather than hot, and it seems to work fine.

    Finally, in our household we like to add either shredded basil or whole thai-basil leaves, perhaps as an alternative to the mint that you use.

  4. Reply
    May 22, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Yum! I learned how to make something similar last year. Spring rolls always looks so fancy but they’re not hard at all once you get the hang of it. Excited to try your recipe!!

  5. Reply
    May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Lovely! There’s nothing quite as refreshing as vietnamese spring rolls on a sunny day.

  6. Reply
    May 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Loyal follower first time commenter…. It is so serendipitous that you posted a spring roll recipe. I was just about to make some tonight. I was going to make a peanut sauce for it, but I just so happen to have some chili sauce base I could use to try yours.

    • Reply
      May 23, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Let me know what you think of the sauce. I love the peanut sauce too, but I can’t make it at my house b/c my wife is allergic. Maybe I could do it with sunflower butter.

  7. Reply
    May 24, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    I can’t wait to grab all the ingredients, thinking about adding a slice of ripe mango (California maki style) hmmm. Thanks for sharing this easy Vietnamese recipe!

  8. Reply
    May 24, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    These are so tasty. When I make them they just don’t come out so perfectly round and wonderful (like you have them). The taste is incredible and thanks for the sauce. I’ve used peanut sauce or Thai red sauce, so this is a nice new addition. Thanks so much.

  9. Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    They look utterly divine. I’ve never worked with rice paper before, it is now on the shopping list.

    It is my first time visiting your site, and I’m hooked! I hope you don’t mind a non veggie visiting.

    Janie x

    • Reply
      May 25, 2013 at 7:08 am #

      Thanks, Janie! I think a lot of my readers aren’t vegetarians – one time when I asked I think it is around 50% or more. Everyone needs to eat their veggies :)!

  10. Reply
    May 27, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    These are delicious. I usually have peanut sauce with mine, but really liked your sauce idea. Thanks for this yummy recipe.

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