These are always my favorite appetizer to order when we go to our local Vietnamese restaurant, Ben Tre! The fresh crunch from the romaine and mung bean sprouts pairs perfectly with their addictive peanut sauce. The shrimp keeps it light — it’s common to add pork to these rolls, but I personally prefer just the shrimp. I’ve tried fresh spring rolls from many other places, but Ben Tre’s (especially their sauce) has always been my favorite! I hope you enjoy this version.
Some other common additions: cucumber, cilantro, and cabbage. I’ve even learned recently that some people eat them with avocados and mangoes! Feel free to be creative, or use what you have in your fridge.
Tips for rolling and making the best fresh spring rolls:
The rice paper only needs a very brief dip in room temperature water. Many recipes call for warm water, but I found that my rice paper would rip every time I used warm water.
Baby romaine lettuce (I get mine at Costco) is the perfect shape to both hold all the other ingredients as well as help the spring roll maintain a tight, rolled shape. After wetting the rice paper, place the baby romaine lettuce down first in the middle, then place all the ingredients except for the shrimp inside the lettuce. Lastly, put the shrimp (facing outwards) near the top of the rice paper and wrap the whole thing from the bottom up like a burrito. Watch the video below to see the rolling technique!
If you’re allergic to peanuts, many people have substituted other nut butters successfully. You can also look up a recipe for nuoc cham, a salty, sweet, and tangy sauce made from fish sauce, lime, garlic, vinegar, chilis, and sugar. It’s a light yet pungent sauce that pairs incredibly well with these.
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Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
shrimp spring rolls
- 6 pieces rice or tapioca paper
- 9 pieces large shrimp
- 12 leaves baby romaine lettuce
- 4 oz dried thin rice vermicelli
- 4-5 oz mung bean sprouts
- mint leaves
- ⅓ cup peanut butter (I like crunchy for the extra texture)
- ¼ cup hoisin
- 1.5 teaspoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup hot water (or more to desired consistency)
- toasted crushed peanuts (optional)
Prepare the ingredients and sauce
- Wash and prepare the greens: romaine lettuce, mint leaves, and mung bean sprouts.12 leaves baby romaine lettuce, 4-5 oz mung bean sprouts, mint leaves
- Mix all your peanut sauce ingredients together, then gradually add water until it reaches your desired consistency.⅓ cup peanut butter, ¼ cup hoisin, 1.5 teaspoon fish sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ cup hot water, toasted crushed peanuts
Cook the ingredients
- To cook frozen shrimp, boil for ~2 minutes or until they turn color and curve into a slight “c” shape. Drop the cooked shrimp into an ice bath after cooking to prevent overcooked shrimp.9 pieces large shrimp
- If needed, peel and devein the shrimp. With your knife parallel to the cutting board, slice the shrimp sideways — now you have double the shrimp to use in spring rolls!
- Cook your thin vermicelli noodles according to package directions, then rinse in cold water and drain.4 oz dried thin rice vermicelli
Assemble the spring rolls (refer to the video!)
- Dip your rice or tapioca paper lightly and quickly in the bowl of room temp water, making sure all sides have touched the water. Don’t dip for too long or it’ll become too soft!6 pieces rice or tapioca paper
- Assemble your spring roll by adding lettuce, mint leaves, mung bean sprouts, and thin vermicelli noodles together in the middle of the rice paper.
- At the top of the rice paper, add 3 sliced shrimp. Make sure the outsides of the shrimp are facing down so you’ll see it when you roll it up.
- Starting from the bottom of the rice paper, gently roll up and wrap the rice paper over the middle ingredients. Then fold in the right and left sides (like a burrito) and continue rolling upwards over the shrimp. Enjoy with the peanut sauce!