Spring Roll Recipes

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California Sushi Rolls and Tuna and Salmon Sushi Recipe

If you love football as much as my husband Lulu does, and also happen to be a 49ers fan, you were probably frantically jumping up and down and screaming for joy as they made it to the Super Bowl last week. Lulu has been looking forward to this since they lost in overtime in last year's NFC Championship game. To be honest, I have no clue what any of those words mean, but I've heard Lulu say them on several occasions.

What I do know is food and I've concocted a week's worth of  recipe ideas in honor of the Superbowl and the San Franciso 49ers. I may not know a first down from a field goal, but preparing fun party food for friends and family is a great way for me to get involved.

To kickoff our week of SF-friendly Super Bowl foods, here's a combination of California rolls (avocado crab cucumber) and tuna (freshly caught by our neighbor Tom) and salmon sushi. It's super easy; all you need is fresh ingredients and ready-cooked sushi rice. You can make several rolls in advance, and cut them throughout the party as your guests work their way through them. The other nice thing about sushi as party food is that you can easily make different fillings depending on you and your guests' preferences and dietary restrictions.


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Shrimp Spring Rolls (Vietnamese Roll Recipe) Recipe

Shrimp spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese) are the perfect finger food when we have a party. Not only are they healthy, but they're very tasty as well. I usually serve them sliced in half with a peanut and hoisin sauce on the side.

For this dish, I prefer to wrap the rolls with tapioca sheets, called bánh tráng mỏng in Vietnamese, which literally translates to "thin paper disks". They are thinner than rice paper, and as a result the shrimp are still visible once wrapped. The other plus of using tapioca sheets is that they look fresh longer, once they're made, versus the ones with rice paper. Tapioca rounds are stickier than rice paper when wet though, so it's a little more difficult to wrap them.

In these particular fresh rolls, I added the basic ingredients such as shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs. Meat could be added but I like them very simple. It's a fairly fast dish; the only long step is wrapping the rolls, but with our large family, the work was quite easy.

And for the vegetarians in the house, we wrapped bì cuốn chay, so everyone could share the same meal for dinner.


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California Sushi Rolls Recipe

California Sushi Rolls

02.24.10 by Jackie

Making sushi is a lot easier that it seems. The real key to well-presented sushi is having good utensils, such as a sushi mat and a sharp knife. Each ingredient can be prepped in advance and assembled when you're ready to serve, and when you make it at home, it's a fraction of the cost!

Though there are many wonderful forms of traditional makizushi, or rolled sushi, feel free to experiment with the ingredients you have on hand. I got my inspiration for the sushi pictured above from ingredients native to California; I used Hass avocados, goat cheese and baby Persian cucumbers. I wrapped these ingredients in the traditional combination of nori sheets and Japanese rice.

In standard California roll fashion, the rice is on the outside of the nori. If you've ever wondered why this is the case, the story goes that Japanese immigrants who came to the US turned the sushi inside out to hide the nori from culinarily unadventurous Americans. I don't know if that's true, but it's the story a sushi chef told me once. It certainly is a great tale!

I served the sushi rolls with wasabi paste, homemade pickled ginger and soy sauce. It may seem daunting, but a sushi dinner is really as easy as 1-2-3.


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Beef Hot Pot (Bo Nhung Dam, Shabu Shabu) Recipe

If you're a beef and seafood lover, this Vietnamese-style beef hot pot recipe is for you. Bỏ nhúng dấm (literally beef dipped in vinegar) is the Vietnamese equivalent of the Japanese dish called shabu shabu, but with additional seafood ingredients. The broth is made with coconut soda, chopped onions and tomatoes. On a separate platter, gather the raw beef, shrimp, baby squid and octopus, fresh pineapple, cooked rice noodles, bánh tráng (dried rice paper sheets) and various aromatic herbs. The prep work is quite labor-intensive; you have to have a lot of company to make the meal worthwhile. The more, the merrier.

Place an electric hot pot in the middle of the dining table and let everyone dip and cook the beef and seafood in the fragrant broth and assemble their own rolls using the rice paper sheets. Dip the rolls in mắm nêm dipping sauce. It's made of fermented fish paste, which is very strong. If fermented fish paste is too overwhelming, you could ultimately use nước mắm chấm (fish sauce) or soy sauce (nước tương chấm) for a milder flavor.

Vietnamese beef hot pot is a very festive meal because it's fairly expensive and quite time-consuming to prepare. It's what one of my uncles would call "đặc biệt", or "only for special occasions" in English. On my Papa's side of the family in France, all my cousins (including me) married non-Vietnamese spouses but I can guarantee you they all know the meaning of the word "đặc biệt" (which means special). Whenever, we're invited to my uncles' homes, they offer a lot of đặc biệt meals. "Lulu, it's đặc biệt, you should try this, it's delicious!" as one of my uncle always says to my husband. So this recipe is dedicated to my uncle François, whom I call Chu Bay (Uncle #7. He's Papa's 7th brother and that's how you show respect in the Vietnamese tradition).

It's perfect for a winter meal and just in time for the Chinese New Year, which is coming very soon.

Bo Nhunh Giam Recipe with Picture


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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.


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