This fun dish is a staple for Vietnamese
families. Steamed pork or shrimp is
traditional, but you can customize your rolls
with whatever fillings you and your children
like – try chicken, crab or pollock, or sliced
avocado or mango. This recipe comes from
Jenny Nguyen of Toronto, mother of Rachel,
6 and Brody, 5, and Jenny’s mother-in-law,
Medium-sized rice paper (Rose Brand works best)
Bunch of fresh cilantro
Bunch of fresh mint
Bean sprouts (optional)
Thin rice vermicelli noodles
Carrot, julienned or coarsely grated
Steamed pork loin or roasted chicken, thinly sliced
Cooked shrimp, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
Bunch of chives
1. Soak the rice noodles in hot (but not boiling) water
according to the package directions, until soft.
Drain well. The noodles can be soaked ahead and
refrigerated until prep time.
2. To assemble the rolls, fi ll a pie plate or shallow
dish with warm water, and immerse a piece of rice
paper for about 10 seconds. Set it on your plate
and the paper will become sticky as you pile on the
3. Starting at the bottom of the circle (the side closest
to you), set a couple of lettuce leaves, then cilantro
leaves and mint leaves. Add a spoonful of sprouts,
then noodles. Not too much, as you don’t want to
overload your roll and cause the rice paper to rip.
4. Add three or four slices of pork, just above the
greens. Add three or four halves of shrimp, with the
pink side down, above the pork.
5. Begin rolling the rice paper from the side closest to
you, rolling away from you. Roll slowly and tightly.
Once you are half way rolled, fold the sides in and
keep rolling. Add a sprig of chive and leave it sticking
out one end, continuing to roll. The rice paper
will seal itself. Cut in half to serve.
Perfect for dipping, or drizzling inside the
roll for a less messy lunch. Jenny uses a
butter because her son is allergic
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
1/4 cup (60 ml) peanut butter or no-nut butter
4 tsp (20 ml) hoisin sauce
Splash of rice vinegar (optional)
Chili sauce (optional)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the water and
peanut butter; add hoisin sauce and other ingredients
to taste. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, blend in a
blender or using a hand-held immersion blender.)
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November 2012.