mains/meat/recipes/vietnamese

Vietnamese Steak Summer Rolls Party!

Posted August 8, 2018 by Stephanie

Now that we’re in the thick of summer, all I want to eat are summer rolls. Or, as we call them around here, salad rolls. Vietnamese rice paper rolls are one of those foods that get called a multitude of names, but no matter what you call gỏi cuốn, they are absolutely the perfect summer dinner party food.

I love them because you can eat as many (or as little) as you like and you get to customize every single roll. The best way to eat them is to roll and eat, and repeat. Technically you could roll everything before bringing them to the table, but the best way to eat these guys is to put out all of the ingredients and have everyone wrap at the table.

This time around we went with steak rolls – check out the awesome reverse sear tomahawk steak that Mike made – but you can use just about any protein you like. Wash a bunch of herbs and vegetables, cook some vermicelli and a protein, gather your friends and throw a summer roll party!

Vietnamese Steak Summer Rolls Party | www.iamafoodblog.com

Summer Roll Party Basics:

Protein: You could go protein-less but why when there are so many delicious options out there? We did a simple seared steak, but you could go for chicken, Vietnamese pork sausage, fish, tofu, even spam! Whatever you choose, be sure that it’s sized correctly. You want something that’s either in small pieces so you can lay them out in a line, or something that’s trimmed into somewhat long and thin. You can definitely use ham or any other soft and pliable protein. Obviously boneless is the way to go and if you’re using shellfish, make sure you take off the shells first. Whatever you use, it would be best if you marinated it in something delicious, or at the very least, seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Greens/Lettuce: Typically you’ll find green leaf and red leaf lettuce as the main lettuce in a salad/summer roll. For this part of a roll, all you need to do is wash and dry a large variety of lettuces of choice. It’s best if the lettuces don’t have the thick/crunch middle ribs – romaine is great for crunch, but sometimes those thick ribs can rip through your rice paper and a broken roll is a sad roll. If you’re using romaine, just be sure to use the frilly green parts. If lettuce isn’t really your thing, you can certainly use any other vegetable as long as they’re trimmed to size. Try carrots, daikon, cooked and blanched green beans, sautéed kale, cabbage, spinach, basically anything your heart desires. Heck, you could even put in thin slices of fruit if that’s what you’re in to. Cucumbers happen to be one of my favorite additions.

Herbs: Herbs are essential to any Vietnamese dish and I’d say that they’re an absolute must. Our standard herbs are Thai basil, mint, cilantro and shiso, but you can also feel free to use green onions, perilla leaves, Vietnamese coriander – the sky is the limit!

Vermicelli: In these particular rolls I cooked some banh hoi, which is a special super thin woven vermicelli bundle. The noodles are all tangled up together and kind of look like a playing card, but made of vermicelli that sticks together. You top the bundles off with green onion oil and they’re served along side grilled meats or with the intention that you’re going to roll them up into rolls. You can also use regular rice vermicelli, just cook it according to the package, drain and rinse.

Vietnamese Steak Summer Rolls Party | www.iamafoodblog.com

Extras: This is where you can get really crazy! Extras wise, I say that this is where crunchy things come into play. You’re looking for (or at least I’m looking for) contrasting textures when you have a salad roll – you have the firmness of your protein, the crunch and freshness of your vegetables and herbs, and the slippery chew of the rice paper wrapper. Some crunchy things to add in can be crispy shallots, crispy garlic, deep-fried egg roll wrappers, maybe even a deep-fried spring roll!?

Rice Paper: This one is pretty standard – go to the store (preferably your local Asian grocery store) and buy a package of rice paper. They have round ones and square ones and they come in a multitude of sizes. We don’t have a particular loyalty to a specific brand, but we do find ourselves buying Three Ladies and the one with the red rose on it quite often. We usually buy ones that are made of a mix of rice and tapioca. All rice wrappers tend to be on the thicker side and all tapioca tend to fall apart. You want something just right – thin, pliable and soft, but not so delicate that they break upon rolling.

Dipping Sauce: Around here we prefer nước chấm/mixed fish sauce  for dipping, but lots of people like hoisin, or a peanut sauce. If you want something a bit different, here’s are some recipes for gingery fish sauce, miso sesame dipping sauce, and almond butter dipping sauce.

Alright! Go forth and roll! Place everything on a table, along with large bowls of warm water (to dip the rice paper in), flat plates at least the size of your rice paper, and dipping bowls for your sauce. To roll, dip a rice paper into the water. It doesn’t need to be soaking, just, put it in the bowl and rotate, then place it on your plate – it’ll continue to soften as your assembling your roll. Add fillings as desired: lettuce, herbs, vermicelli, protein, extras. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the filling, hold the fold in place, fold in the sides, tucking and rolling, like a burrito. The rice paper will stick to itself. Dip in sauce eat and repeat!

Vietnamese Steak Summer Rolls Party | www.iamafoodblog.com

5 Comments

  1. Fiona says:

    I love summer rolls – your post is inspiring me to make some soon! I prefer the hoisin dipping sauce, do you know of a recipe? I imagine there’s more ingredients to it than just straight up hoisin sauce…

    1. Stephanie says:

      tbh we never use hoisin as a dipping sauce so i have no idea what else might be in it! but i have dipped things into straight hoisin before too LOL but i suspect that the hoisin based sauces have peanut sauce mixed into them, so maybe try a mix of hoisin and unsweetened peanut butter and go from there?

  2. I am the worst at rolling though. Like I think I am nailing it then I suck. I noticed at restaurants n stuff it seems to be double or even triple rolled?? Is that the secret?? Can we have a rolling party because I freaking love salad rolls… ?? PS your vermicelli playing cards look so cute too!!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes to a rolling party!!! it’s like like rolling a burrito! also i have no idea about store bought rolls bc i’m too much of a snob to eat them LOL

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