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Monday, January 03, 2005

Homemake: Goi Cuon

We love goi cuon in summer. When it's hot, sticky and humid outside, nothing beats biting into a cool rice paper roll bursting with salad, prawns and mint. Refreshing and healthy!

Goi cuon is sooo easy to make and is an easy formula for a relaxed DIY dinner party. About half an hour of prep beforehand is all you need.

GOI CUON (Vietnamese prawn rolls)

16 rice paper rounds (banh trang)
200g rice vermicelli
400g pork mince
2 cloves garlic
500g cooked prawns
1 packet bean sprouts
shredded lettuce
flat garlic chives

Peanut sauce
crunchy peanut butter
hoisin sauce
chilli sauce or fresh chillies (if preferred)
crushed peanuts (to garnish if preferred)
hot water

  1. Cook the rice vermicelli by soaking it in boiling hot water for 10 minutes. Gradually tease the noodles apart with chopsticks to ensure all threads are cooked through.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and stir fry with the pork mince, seasoning to taste.
  3. Peel the prawns (remove vein if preferred) and cut in half along its length ie. so it still looks like a whole prawn from one side.
  4. Wash the sprouts, lettuce, chives and mint. Cut the top half of the chives into 10cm lengths. Chop the remainder into 1cm shreds.

Banh trang rice paper sheets

Making the sauce
I always make this sauce on instinct and never measure. Generally I suppose I use roughly equal measures of peanut butter and hoisin sauce but feel free to make to your preference. I tend to prefer mine extra peanutty and extra thick (for increased dollop factor!).

  1. Combine about 3Tbs peanut butter with 3Tbs hoisin sauce and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add chilli sauce to taste NOTE: The sugar in the hoisin counteracts the heat of the chilli so you will need to add lots to taste anything! We love Turbo Supercharge for its 10++/10 habanero heat factor.
  3. Add hot water to thin as required.
  4. Garnish with extra crushed peanuts if preferred.


  1. Place all ingredients on the table and have a large wide-mouthed bowl of hot water on the table within easy reach of everyone. Top this up as required.
  2. Quickly dip and rotate one rice paper sheet into the bowl of water. TIP: It is sufficient to merely ensure the entire surface is wet. The rice paper will still be hard but trust me, it will soften on your plate as you start assembly. Overcooking your sheet will only make breakage more likely!
  3. Place wet rice paper onto a flat plate.
  4. Place two teaspoons of pork mince about 1/3 of the way up your rice paper sheet. Add vermicelli, sprouts, lettuce, chive shreds and mint as preferred. TIP: Resist the urge to overload on the ingredients as this will make it harder to roll.
  5. Lift bottom flap of sheet and fold over your ingredient line. Holding your ingredients tightly with your index fingers, roll the whole thing once over using your thumbs, ensuring you try and remove as much air as possible (see, I told you not to be greedy). Fold in the left and right hand flaps.
  6. Place three prawn slices "nice" side up onto your roll. Place a flat chive garnish on top so about 2cm of it sticks out on one side.
  7. Hold the ingredients tightly again and roll over so you now have one compact parcel.
  8. Cheer, eat and roll again!

Meat/Vegetarian: We often substitute the pork mince with thin slices of boiled pork belly. Alternatively you can use shredded boiled chicken or go completely vegetarian if preferred.

Salad fillings: Go crazy with whatever tickles your fancy. Today we felt like adding julienned cucumber for extra refreshment. You could also add blanched asparagus, red capsicum, enoki mushrooms, pickled julienned carrots, finely shredded cabbage...as long as everything is chopped finely and easily biteable and you're aware of harmonising not competing flavours.

Sauce: I've had this served with nuoc cham before which some people do prefer, however I find the sauce ends up dribbling all over my fingers!
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 1/03/2005 03:05:00 pm


  • At 1/04/2005 3:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hey AugustusGloop,

    Your goi cuon looks fabulous! So pretty and refreshing. I've never eaten these before; had no idea they were so easy to make. Thanks for the detailed recipe! :)


  • At 1/04/2005 4:48 pm, Blogger R said…

    Greetings Augustusgloop,

    I have to say that this entry was very PinkCocoa - which is all good.

    What a wonderful job you have done in your side bar too. Very clever. I can see you have far exceeded me and my 'HTML for dummies'.

    Lastly, have you noticed these mutant hyperlinks? I've noticed that they have been popping up in my blog and hotmail, and now I see them in your lovely blog too.
    Grr *shaking fist* to 21st century spammers.

    Happy Day.

  • At 1/04/2005 8:59 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AugustusGloop,

    The goi cuon look good! I would never attempt to make this at home. I'm horrible at rolling things up. The "skins" normally tear when I roll them! BTW...we call these summer rolls here. =)

  • At 1/07/2005 4:52 pm, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    hiya AG
    This looks yummy! Must try it one day :-) It's perfect for the hot weather, if we get some that is!

  • At 12/25/2006 3:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Make sure you get good quality rice paper. Some may be be too salty, too chewy and tough and others too flimsy.

  • At 4/08/2007 12:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Being Vietnamese myself, I found it surprising to see a goi cuon recipe coming from a Westerner! Myself, I love having goi cuon for dinner, but in my home we don't eat it with peanut dip. We use 'nuoc cham', a kind of light, sweet and salty dipping-sauce made from equal parts water and fish sauce (nuoc mam), sugar, lemon juice, and minced garlic.

    We use the EXACT brand of rice paper that you showed in the post!

    Thanks for spreading the word!


  • At 5/29/2007 2:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe with some rice paper ( including the one shown in your recipe), there is no need to use hot water! It may take a few extra seconds to soften, that's all!

  • At 12/27/2007 9:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a vietnamese, I am kind of surprised to see the way the sauce is done to go with gỏi cuốn. It's a mix between nem nướng and bò bía sauce. Peanut sauce(prepared with sticky rize powder) is served with nem nướng and hoysin sauce is served with bò bía in Vietnam. Gỏi cuốn we eat it with nước mắm only. Anyway go with what we like, right?

  • At 12/27/2007 9:19 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi ATD - I've had goi cuon with nuoc cham but to be honest I prefer the peanut dip which adds an extra richness to the rolls.

    Hi Anon - We found that in the humidity of Vietnam we didn't need to dip our rice paper sheets into water, altho' perhaps this was also to do with the freshness of the rice paper sheets. In Aust, it takes a little longer to soften with warm water than hot - all garnered from personal experience when we're too lazy to change the water bowl!

    Hi Anon - I love nuoc cham on my but thit nem muong and other noodle dishes but I find I prefer the salty sweet richness of the peanut sauce with my goi cuon. And yep, the best thing about homemade is doing the dish as you please :)


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