Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls)

Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls) Recipe

The bì cuốn chay is a blend of bì chay, thick rice vermicelli noodles, baby cucumber sticks, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil wrapped in a bánh tráng (rice paper disk). It is served with a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce called nước chấmnước mắm (fish sauce) or a peanut sauce (recipe follows in the tip section).

We had some bì chay yesterday. I served it with bún (thick rice vermicelli noodles). When served together, it is called Bún chay. In many ways, the dish is basically a deconstructed spring roll. That made deciding what to do with the leftovers really easy.  Without much effort, you'll get two meals out of the same dish. And did I mention that it is absolutely delicious?

If you crave the fried version for your main course, check out the recipe here.


Yields: 6

2 to 2-½ cups bì chay (check the recipe from yesterday
12 bánh tráng disks (rice paper, see tips)
2 baby cucumbers
5 ounces thick rice vermicelli noodles, (1/2 package), cooked
1 cup Vietnamese mint, stemmed
1 cup Thai basil, stemmed
1 cup bean sprouts
4 red Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup nước chấm
2 cups peanut sauce
6 iceberg lettuce leaves, for garnish


Cut the cucumber into 2-3 inch matchsticks (depending on the size of your spring rolls).

Wash the bean sprouts and drain through a salad spinner. Repeat the same procedure with the mint and basil. Remove as much liquid as possible.

Fill a saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil. Let cool a bit. Quickly dip the rice papers, one at a time into the warm water and place on a clean flat surface. Wait about 1 or 2 minutes. The rice paper should be soft but not too wet. I usually dip 4 rice papers at a time, then start wrapping.

Place 2 leaves of mint and basil, 3-4 cucumber "matchsticks", the same amount of bean sprouts in the center, about 1-1/2 inches from the bottom edge .

Carefully fold each side flap and roll away from you. If the rice paper is moistened properly, it should easily stick and roll. Tuck all the mixture into the wrapper, forming a cigar. Continue until all the bì chay is used.

Cut the spring rolls in half in a bias. Place 4 halves per iceberg lettuce leaf. Serve with nước chấm or peanut dipping sauce.



Bánh tráng are dried rice paper sheets. I buy the Ba Co Gai (Three Ladies) brand for this dish. The rice paper isn't too thick, yet strong enough not to easily break on contact of moisture. I use the same brand for my ph noodles. You can find all these ingredients in any Asian store.

For the thick rice vermicelli noodles, just boil the noodles as you would for regular pasta. Drain thoroughly. Let cool completely.

I use a similar peanut base as to the one for my peanut tofu satay for the peanut sauce. Just dissolve 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with 1/3 cup of lime juice, 1/3 cup of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of water to thin the sauce a little. Warm the mixture (until the sugar is completely dissolved). Add about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use Ponzu for its lemony flavor), 1/2 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste, 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce, 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Voilà!

If you want, you can add black fungus mushrooms, pickled carrot and daikon, pickled pearl onion, fresh pineapple or bamboo shoots. I didn't add any of these ingredients as it adds more moisture to the filling; the spring rolls can get soggy if not eaten right away.

For an additional crunch, you can add coarsely ground peanuts.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 28, 2009.


I love Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, my husband doesn't like it with shrimps, so I always make the vegetarian version. This recipe of yours is a must try recipe. Looks delish!

elra Website Link
[ Posted at 7:36 AM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Your comment - Guest-ChefE
I would check with local restaurant supply companies, they sell to you if you give them a name, like use your blog URL, and they will ship you a catalog. Also ask them if they sell dinner ware and catering supplies, and you can purchase things like that.

I also use pieces of thin cut marble and wrap napkins around small boxes to tier them up for a display, and nice presentation. You can do that with platters as well, and cut glass.

Hope that helps, and I am a total dish hound! So I understand that it caught your eye, me too!


Chef E Website Link
[ Posted at 9:22 AM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] fresh and light - Guest-lisaiscooking
I love these flavors together, and the Thai basil makes it great! Wish I had Thai basil in my garden this year.

lisaiscooking Website Link
[ Posted at 9:40 AM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] basil - Jackie
Thai basil easily grows in our garden but for some reasons, I can't grow sweet basil; it's the rabbits' favorite. Any suggestions to grow regular sweet basil? Shoot me an email if you guys have an answer :)
[ Posted at 1:41 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
I love fresh spring rolls, especially in this hot weather we are having right now in Virginia. Thanks for suggesting a brand of rice paper , I always get confused which one to get at the Asian market.

Veron Website Link
[ Posted at 11:39 AM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
Bi Chay is one of my favorite summer treats. I'll enjoy trying to make it!

Jen of a2eatwrite Website Link
[ Posted at 12:12 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] great information here - Guest-Indian
I love these fresh spring rolls but still find it very difficult to get them here. This recipes are helping me a lot. thanks for this wonderful information.

Indian Website Link
[ Posted at 3:18 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Taste With The Eyes - Guest-LoriLynn
Hi Jackie - so glad to find you, I adore Vietnamese food. And other fusions foods too, looking forward to exploring your blog.

Lori Lynn Website Link
[ Posted at 10:09 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Bi Cuon Chay - Guest-Betty
These look so fresh and tasty! I love vietnamese food, I could eat it all day, every day :)

Betty Website Link
[ Posted at 10:16 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] wow - Guest-Jan
Hi and thanks for visiting my blog - yours by the way is fantastic!
And those spring rolls look amazing!

Jan Website Link
[ Posted at 11:11 PM on 7/28/09 | Reply ]
[-] Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls) - Guest-LorraineNotQuiteNigella
I love how healthy these rolls are and in Summer we have these at least once a week. Always with lots of nice, fresh mint!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella Website Link
[ Posted at 2:22 AM on 7/29/09 | Reply ]
[-] Fabulous! - Guest-AmandaFormaro
These spring rolls look so delish!

Amanda Formaro Website Link
[ Posted at 7:13 PM on 7/29/09 | Reply ]
as i turned a veggie i should try this one!

joshi daniel Website Link
[ Posted at 2:06 PM on 8/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] tried with tulip petals - Guest-kathyCorby
So, Jackie, every May I make a small plate meal in which every item contains flowers. This year a friend had some amazing parrot tulips that were just maybe getting ready to drop their petals. It turns out that tulips are edible, so I made your recipe with the peanut sauce and the guests wrapped thie own rolls and suaced them. OMG-- it was everyone's favorite plate. Thanks so much!
[ Posted at 9:05 PM on 5/2/10 | Reply ]

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