Alone, good. Together, great! Peanut Sauce For Rice Paper Rolls are a simple and delicious appetizer that will satisfy the masses. It’s easy to make and has huge crowd-pleasing potential. When dim sum time rolls around, you know what usually comes first to the table? An order of peanut sauce. The question is, which one is the best?
HOISIN PEANUT SAUCE (TƯƠNG CHẤM GỎI CUỐN)
You can’t have Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls without some wickedly thick Hoisin Peanut Sauce! It’s a creamy, savory and sweet dip that tastes luxurious and yet is so simple to make. This recipe uses store-bought sauces so all you have to do it mix them over low heat, then voilà – it’s ready for dipping!
THE DIP MADE FOR VIETNAMESE RICE PAPER ROLLS
I can’t have my rice paper rolls without Hoisin Peanut Sauce, period. It’s like trying to eat Stuffed Tofu without any gravy or Vietnamese Chicken Ragu without bread or rice.
It’s simply unheard of!
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be loading each Gỏi Cuốn with the dip as if you’ll never get a chance to eat it again. Trust me, it’s that good.
There are actually many different versions of this recipe out there. But what I find is that many of them end up being quite watery.
And while some of you might prefer that, personally I like mine super thick and creamy so the nuttiness smothers over every crevice.
You can also trust that in this family recipe, you’ll be able to taste both the hoisin AND the peanut flavor. There’s enough of both ingredients for that perfect balance of sweet and savory!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- Adding lime juice balances the richness with zest.
- Fried garlic infuses every ingredient with an aromatic flavor.
- Drizzling in a touch of sesame oil gives a boost of nuttiness.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
ABOUT THE PEANUT BUTTER
We like to get smooth peanut butter for this dip, but you can also go for the crunchy version to get more texture.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
Start by heating up the oil in a small pan. Lower the heat to a low-medium and brown the garlic for 1 minute.
Add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter and sugar, mixing until well combined.
Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding water or stock until it reaches a consistency you like.
Add the lemon (or lime) juice and stir until combined.
To finish it off, drizzle in the sesame oil and give it a stir. Garnish it with crushed peanuts before serving.
Dunk some Gỏi Cuốn (Vietnamese Summer Rolls) or Bò Bía (Rice Paper Rolls with Chinese Sausage and Eggs) into the dip to complete this summer dream!
What can be substituted for hoisin sauce?
For the sharp sweet and savory flavor profile, bean paste, teriyaki or Worcestershire come close.
What can I substitute for peanut butter?
To get the nutty creaminess, you can try using Biscoff spread, sunflower seed butter or sweetened tahini (add sugar to taste). Alternatively, skip the ingredient altogether and reduce the amount of hoisin to dilute some of its sharpness.
TIPS FOR THE BEST RESULTS
- Cook over a low heat. This prevents the sauces from burning.
- Add the liquid in slowly. You can adjust the consistency your liking by pouring in a little of the water or stock at a time while stirring. Stop when you’ve found the perfect balance.
- Stir constantly. The sauces will heat up and bubble quickly, so it’s important to stir to remove the clumps and keep everything smooth.
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are packed with bright, fresh flavours and served with an insanely addictive Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce that takes a minute to make. With a couple of cheeky tricks, step by step photos and an easy to follow video, you’ll be rolling perfect rice paper rolls like a pro in no time!
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls – always a hit!!
If I took a platter of these to a gathering with my friends, I guarantee they’d be one of the first things to go. Everybody I know loves these. Even the hardest of hard-core carnivores munch these down as enthusiastically as they would a rack of ribs.
They truly are that good.
Vietnamese food is my idea of the ultimate “accidently healthy” food. Sure, there are a handful of deep fried recipes. But generally, most Vietnamese dishes are super fresh, full of bright flavours, loaded with herbs and salads, with just a bit of protein. Dressings and sauces are refreshingly light and devoid of oil, unlike basically every Western dressing!
I think that Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are one of those things that people love but always assume are just too fiddly or too hard to make. To dispel of that myth, let me tell you – I am not into fiddly. That’s why you’ll never see fancy decorated cakes on my blog. I simply don’t have the patience or co-ordination for fiddly dishes – sweet or savoury.
Serving idea: DIY spread!
Lay out all the ingredients with a large bowl of water for dipping the rice paper in, then make everyone make their own. This DIY approach is a menu item on Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney which is very popular, I always order it!
Tips to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
In addition to the video, I have 2 little tips that can make your Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll Making Life so much easier:
- Bundle up fly-away bits inside a piece of lettuce. I like making these with bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles (other filling suggestions in the recipe notes). Until you get your rolling technique down pat, bundle it up in lettuce before rolling it in the rice paper. This holds the “stuff” together which makes it so much easier to roll the rice paper and it will also prevent things like bean sprouts, carrots, cucumber etc from piercing the rice paper;
- Use two rice paper sheets – again, this is a tip while you are an up-and-coming Rice Paper Roll Master. It is much easier to handle when rolling. The downside is that the ends are a touch chewy, because there’s triple / quadruple layers. But it’s not tough chewy, not in the least bit. It’s just chewy compared to how soft and fragile a single layer of rice paper is. It doesn’t deter me at all. My mother noticed it, but it didn’t stop her from hoeing down 4 of these in minutes. Never fails to amazes me that a woman of a certain age can consume so much so quickly. (PS She came over to be my hand model for the video, this was a tough one to shoot by myself!)
PS The reason the prawns and lettuce bundle are laid out in different positions on the rice paper is so there is only layer of rice paper on the prawns once rolled up – makes the prawns more visible. Ie Pretty rolls.
Peanut Dipping Sauce for Rice Paper Rolls
This peanut sauce is everything!! This is a Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce. The 2 key ingredients are peanut butter and hoisin sauce which is thinned out with either milk or water (I prefer milk for colour. With water, the sauce is darker). Plus vinegar for a bit of tang (really needs it), garlic (it ain’t Asian if there’s no garlic in it!) and a touch of chilli if you want (which I love).
It’s different to Thai / Malaysian / Chinese style peanut sauces and I think you and this Vietnamese Peanut Sauce are going to be very good friends.
So…..what do you think? Have I convinced you to try your hand at becoming a Rice Paper Roll Master?? – Nagi xx
PS There are a bunch of other filling ideas in the recipe notes. I’ve kept this fairly classic.
PPS Even if they are wonky, they still taste incredible!!!
Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls (Spring Rolls)
Prep: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins
Appetizer, Finger Food, Starter
Recipe video above. Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are incredibly fresh and healthy. The Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce that accompanies this is sensational and completely addictive!
- ▢7 – 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5″ round rice paper (Note 1)
- ▢11 small cooked prawns/shrimp (about 12cm/5″ in length, unpeeled including the head)
- ▢50g / 1.5 oz dried vermicelli noodles
- ▢7 lettuce leaves – use a lettuce with soft leaves, like Oak or Butter Lettuce (Note 2)
- ▢14 mint leaves
- ▢1 cup bean sprouts
VIETNAMESE PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE (NOTE 3)
- ▢1 tbsp peanut butter, preferably smooth (crunchy is ok too)
- ▢2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- ▢1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lime juice)
- ▢1/3 cup milk (any fat %) (or water)
- ▢1 garlic clove, minced
- ▢1/2 tsp crushed chilli, samba oelak or other chilli paste, adjust to taste (optional)
- Peanut Sauce: Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients. Mix briefly (it won’t come together), then microwave for 30 seconds. Mix again until smooth. Set aside to cool. Adjust sour with vinegar, salt with salt and spiciness to taste. Thickness can be adjusted with milk or water once cooled.
- Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain (or follow packet instructions).
- Peel the prawns, slice in half lengthwise and devein (watch video).
- Remove the crunchy core of the lettuce leaves (watch video).
- Tip – LETTUCE BUNDLE (Note 4): Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, then roll it up, finishing seam side down. Repeat.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn’t need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.
- Place two rice papers together (if using 2). Note which side is the smooth side – this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn’t large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that’s fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
- Place both the rice papers (one on top of the other, they will stick together) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.
- On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between, as per the photo below.
- Place the lettuce bundle with the seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper.
- Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up to cover the lettuce bundle. Then keep rolling firmly. The rice paper is sticky, it will seal itself.
- If you placed the ingredients on the rice paper as per the photo below, your rice paper rolls should look pretty with the prawn and mint leaves on the smooth side of the roll and the seam on the side or underside of the roll.
- Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.
* Peanut free sauce alternative: sweet chilli sauce.
1. Tip to make your rice paper roll life easier: use 2 rice papers per roll. Easier to handle and less prone to tearing. The ends of the roll where there are quadruple layers of rice paper will be a bit chewier, but not super chewy, it is still soft.
Nowadays, rice paper is sold even at supermarkets here in Australia, in the Asian section. It’s super good value too!
2. Lettuce: I use butter or oak lettuce because they are softer and more pliable than iceberg which makes it perfect for rolling up. Iceberg and other crunchy lettuce doesn’t work as well because they break when you scrunch them, and are prone to tearing the rice paper. If you can’t find a soft lettuce, then I suggest shredding the lettuce – it will make it much easier to handle!
3. Sauce: Some Hoisin sauces differ in strength of flavour so adjust the flavour to taste at the end by adding more peanut butter or vinegar, then milk or water to adjust thickness. Milk doesn’t add flavour to the sauce, it just makes it a lighter colour so you know it’s a peanut sauce – the colour you get at Vietnamese restaurants. So you can use water if you prefer, but the sauce will be a darker brown. Or even coconut milk!
4. My tip for rolling these up is to wrap the bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles in the lettuce then roll it up and/or scrunch it lightly so it stays together. Then roll it up in the rice paper. Much easier to handle!
5. STORAGE: Some recipes will tell you that you can make rice paper rolls the day before and you can keep them moist with a damp paper towel. Firstly, I find that the rice paper rolls smelt like the paper towel and secondly, they didn’t hold up that great anyway. My rule of thumb is 6 hours (max 8) – you can make them up to 6 hours ahead, tightly wrap each one in cling wrap as soon as you make them and refrigerate. Don’t just put them on a plate and put cling wrap on the plate, you should roll up each on in cling wrap (you should be able to fit 2 per piece of cling wrap – wrap one first, then place another next to it and roll up with the remaining cling wrap).
DIY OPTION: A popular menu item at Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney are DIY rice paper rolls. So lay out all the components in this recipe out on a table with a large bowl of water, and let everyone make their own!
6. OTHER FILLING IDEAS:
* Julienned vegetables like carrots, cucumbers
* Alfalfa, watercress and other similar shaped vegetables
* Thinly sliced tofu
* Shredded chicken and other proteins
* Other herbs like coriander/cilantro, chives (this is classic Viet)
7. ORIGINAL PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE: As requested by a reader! The one provided in the recipe is more authentic and akin to what you get at Vietnamese restaurants here in Sydney. But here is the original one, FYI:
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis, it’s thick like syrup)
2 small garlic cloves (or 1 large), minced
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
Mix together ingredients, using water to thin to a dippable consistency.
8. Nutrition per rice paper roll, no sauce.
Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Fresh spring rolls-colorful vegetables, rice noodles, and herbs wrapped in rice paper. Serve with peanut sauce on the side for dunking the rolls. Enjoy as an appetizer, snack, or light meal.
Fresh Spring Rolls are probably my favorite appetizer of all time! I don’t know if it’s the fresh and colorful veggies or the dreamy peanut sauce that they get dunked in. This peanut sauce is SO good you will want to drink it and lick the bowl clean!
I love to pick a variety of veggies for color, texture, and flavor. A few of my favorites include: lettuce, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and cabbage. I also add avocado because avocado makes everything better.
Spring rolls are fun to make for parties. We like to have all of the ingredients prepped and ready so when the guests arrive they can make their own spring rolls. It is a fun and interactive way to get the party going.
Don’t be scared, they are easy to roll, just like making a burrito, once you get the hang of it you will be a spring roll pro! Practice makes perfect. Rock and roll!
I also like to eat these spring rolls for lunch or a light dinner, especially in the summertime. They are refreshing and full of flavor.
Spring Roll Ingredients
- Rice paper (spring roll wrappers)– you can find the round spring roll wrappers at most grocery stores in the Asian aisle.
- Vermicelli rice noodles– thin rice noodles also called rice sticks or maifun. The cooking time of the noodles varies across brands so make sure you follow the package instructions.
- Lettuce– I love the texture of butter lettuce, but red or green leaf lettuce will work too.
- Bell peppers– I like to use red and yellow bell peppers for color. Cut them into thin strips.
- Carrot-thinly sliced.
- Purple cabbage– for crunch and color.
- Cucumbers– use Persian or English cucumbers, again, thinly sliced.
- Avocado– I love adding avocado for a creamy element.
- Herbs-fresh mint, basil (regular or Thai), and cilantro leaves.
- Peanut butter– I like to use creamy natural peanut butter.
- Hoisin sauce– adds a nice sweetness.
- Rice wine vinegar– for a little tang.
- Soy sauce– use low sodium soy sauce. If you need the spring rolls to be gluten-free, make sure you use Tamari.
- Garlic– minced fresh garlic.
- Ginger– make sure you use fresh ginger. The flavor is SO good!
- Sriracha– for a little heat.
- Hot water– to thin out the peanut sauce.
- Chopped peanuts– for garnish.
To make the peanut sauce, in a medium bowl, stir together all of the ingredients, except for the water and chopped peanuts. Whisk in the hot water until sauce is smooth. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little more water until desired consistency is reached. Pour in a serving bowl and garnish with chopped peanuts. Set aside until ready to serve.
Set Up the Work Station
Before you get started, make sure your work station is set up and ready to go.
- Have all of your veggies cut up and your ingredients laid out.
- Cook the noodles, according to package directions.
- Lay a damp, linen-free towel over a clean work surface. You will roll the spring rolls directly on the towel.
- You need to dip the rice paper in water to soften it up. Put warm water in a pie plate or shallow bowl. Make sure the water isn’t too hot.
- Have a platter or plate ready to place the spring rolls on.
How to Make Spring Rolls
- Place a rice paper in the water and let soften for about 20 seconds, or until pliable. Don’t let them get too soggy or they will rip. You want the papers to still feel rigid, it will make them easier to roll. Carefully remove the paper from the water and lay flat on the towel.
- Lay one piece of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper. On the lettuce, place about 2 tablespoons of rice noodles, and equal amounts of peppers, cucumber, carrot, cabbage, and avocado. Top with a few fresh herb leaves. Don’t use too many ingredients or it will be too hard to roll.
- Pick up the end of the rice paper closest to the filling and tightly wrap it over the veggies.
- Fold over the sides, like you are making a burrito. The paper will stick to itself, holding everything inside.
- Finish rolling until you have a tight spring roll.
- Place on a platter, seam side down or cut with a sharp knife on the diagonal.
- Repeat the process with remaining ingredients.
- Serve with peanut dipping sauce.
Spring rolls are fun to make and easy to customize. If you want to mix up the fillings, here are some ideas.
- Use your favorite veggies, just make sure you thinly slice them so they are easy to roll.
- Add tofu, just make sure you squeeze out the excess liquid before using.
- Add shrimp, don’t forget to remove the tails!
- Serve with a different sauce. I prefer peanut sauce, but spring rolls are also good with with nước chấm, a Vietnamese dipping sauce made of fish sauce, chili, sugar, and lime juice.
Can Spring Rolls be Made in Advance?
You can make the peanut sauce and prepare the veggies up to two days in advance, but spring rolls are best the day they are made.
If you refrigerate spring rolls overnight, the rice paper hardens, making the rolls a weird, chewy texture.