In Vietnamese: gỏi cuốn; this translates literally as "mix salad rolled"
Vietnamese salad roll have become very popular in the west as people enjoy eating the fresh roll as a snack or light meal. I think that many people have eaten these rolls without knowing that they were Vietnamese in origin. There is also a Thai version but the one seen the most in North America is a variation of the Vietnamese roll.
The roll that most are familiar with are the shrimp and pork version but the rolls can contain many other fillings. The roll should not be thought of as just a dish rather as a way of eating. The rice paper roll can be used to roll anything you like and eaten as an appetizer or as your main meal. Many Vietnamese families will sit down to a meal were rolls are featured prominently as a wrap for whatever meat and greens are on the table. Each person will make their roll from the ingredients that they like and use rice noodle and herbs as they like. The dipping sauce is usually the fish sauce version as it is more versatile that the peanut sauce.
Our version starts
with a rice paper roll freshly made (softened in hot water as it comes
dried) it is the perfect wrapper as it light in flavour and it is
‘cooked’ in hot water rather than oil. One secret is not to refrigerate
the completed roll, as the wrapper will become chewy. You need to eat
these rolls fresh as such they are only properly just before you eat
them. So if you have suffered chewing through a store bought salad roll
you will happy to taste our fresh rolls.
Next comes the
lettuce that of course is part of the healthy nature of these rolls but
it also adds some crunch to the roll. We use leaf lettuce as it adds
the right amount of flavour to rolls.
Next if you want is fresh basil that adds a slight liquorice-like taste to the roll, at a Vietnamese meal the herbs added will vary according to the eaters taste, the season and the filling. We leave out the basil as most customers prefer it that way but we will happily add it if you ask. I would ask it adds a lot of taste.
We add rice noodles next as they give the roll some substance and are as mild tasting as the wrapper. The rice noodle is great when you are dipping the roll as it picks up the sauce and holds it for you to enjoy. As someone who ends up with his share of ruined shirts, I like the sauce sticking to the
roll. The best rice noodles have only two ingredients: rice or rice flour, and water.