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Fresh Vietnamese Rice Paper Bundles

If Vietnam had a national dish, it would be this popular variation of the spring roll. The delicious cha gio are wrapped in phyllo-thin rice paper wrappers that have been carefully softened with water or other liquid before rolling.

Courses: Starters and appetizers

Recipe Ingredients

  Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon 5mlMinced garlic
3 tablespoons 45mlRice vinegar
2 tablespoons 30mlLime juice
2 tablespoons 30mlFish sauce
2 teaspoons 10mlChili paste
4 teaspoons 20mlSugar
3 cups 187g / 6.6ozShredded cooked chicken
1 tablespoon 15mlFish sauce
1 teaspoon 5mlSesame oil
1 teaspoon 5mlChopped cilantro (Chinese parsley) - plus
12   Cilantro sprigs
1   Freshly-ground black pepper
12   Dried 7" rice paper rounds
2 oz 56gBean threads - soaked, drained
  And cut into 3" lengths
1   Watercress - tough stems removed
1/2   Red bell pepper - seeded, and
  Cut into matchstick pieces
3   Green onions, including tops - slivered
  Mint leaves - for garnish

Recipe Instructions

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. Combine the chicken, fish sauce, sesame oil, chopped cilantro, and black pepper in a medium bowl.

To assemble each bundle, immerse a rice paper round in cool water for about 10 seconds then transfer it to a flat working surface. Let it stand for 1 minute or until it becomes soft and pliable. Place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center and top with a small mound of the bean threads, 2 or 3 pieces each of watercress, bell pepper, and green onion, and a cilantro sprig. Roll the wrapper around the filling, tucking in one end. Serve the bundles on a platter, garnished with mint leaves. Offer dipping sauce at the table.

This recipe yields 12 bundles.

Tip: If all you can find are 9- or 12-inch rice paper rounds, make larger bundles and cut them into thirds before serving.

Everybody's Wokking by Martin Yan, (Harlow & Ratner, 1991)


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