A dish that we learned to make at a cooking class in Saigon, the best way to enjoy these shrimp spring rolls is to serve them with traditional vegetables and herbs, and to dip them in the iconic Vietnamese mixed fish sauce.
No, the vegetables and herbs aren’t meant to be ornamental. You use them to wrap the spring roll before dipping into the sauce. Here’s how:
Lay a mustard or lettuce leaf (or both) flat, pile on some basil and mint then place a spring roll on top. Roll up, dip in the sauce and take a bite. Enjoy!
Vietnamese Shrimp Spring Rolls
For the dipping sauce
For the spring rolls
- mustard leaves
- lettuce leaves
- Thai basil
- mint leaves (we used spearmint)
Make the dipping sauce
- In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients until the sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in 4 tablespoons water. Set aside to infuse.
Make the spring rolls
- Shell and devein the shrimps; leave the tails on.
- Cut off the root ends of the cilantro and discard (you may use them for some other recipe but not for this one). Roughly chop the cilantro and place in a mixing bowl with the cleaned shrimps.
- Add the calamansi juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chilies to the shrimps and cilantro. Mix thoroughly.
- Take a piece of spring wrapper and lay flat. Place a shrimp on top; allow the tail to protrude on one side. Top with a few sprigs of cilantro.
- Wet the edges of wrapper. Fold the edge nearest you over the filling. Fold in the side opposite the tail then roll until the filling is fully enclosed. Repeat with the rest of the filling and wrappers.
- Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of about two inches.
- Fry the spring rolls, in batches if your frying pan is on the small side, until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Serve the shrimp spring rolls
- Arrange the fried shrimp spring rolls on one side of a serving platter. Pile on the mustard leaves, lettuce, Thai basil and mint on the other side.
- Serve the shrimp spring rolls and vegetables with the dipping sauce.