Vietnamese Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)
Why This Recipe Works
Springy noodles, crisp lettuce, an abundance of fresh herbs, and a bit of protein for heft make traditional Vietnamese summer rolls a pleasure to eat, but with all those components, building them yourself can be a bit daunting. Our goal was to streamline the process without sacrificing any flavor or texture.
We put our own spin on the traditional practice of cooking the shrimp in the same water used to cook the pork: We used indirect rather than direct heat to ensure that the shrimp stayed tender and juicy. Though some recipes recommend soaking the rice paper wrappers until fully softened, we found that briefly dunking them in cold water and transferring them to the counter while still stiff left them with just enough surface moisture to hydrate them perfectly. This made the wrappers easier to work with and elastic enough to contain a generous amount of filling. Combining three different herbs and adding them to the rolls in a measured amount saved time. A spicy yet approachable peanut sauce and a traditional fish sauce and lime mixture called nuoc cham added moisture and complemented the delicate flavors of the rolls.