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Vietnamese Spring Roll Sauce Recipe?

beebers Apr 12, 2011 03:22 PM

I looked through the archives but couldn't find anything relating to this - I've been making Vietnamese spring rolls at home more and more lately, but I can't get the sauce right! I've tried both peanut/hoisin-based ones as well as fish oil/sugar ones, and I can't seem to get restaurant-quality sauces. Any tips to make them better?

  1. c
    chocomel Apr 20, 2011 01:35 PM

    I had the same problem. My friend told me to do this and it works:

    "Put 2 to 3 garlic cloves in a bowl, 1 or 2 hot chilies (depends on how spicy you want it to be), 1 tablespoon sugar, smash them together, until it becomes sticky. Add 1/3 cup fish sauce, then squeeze 1 lime into the bowl, stir it up. Finally, add 2/3 of a cup to 1 cup purified drinking water"

    I also use the three crabs brand fish sauce, which makes a big difference as everyone else has mentioned. Another thing that i notice is that vietnamese restaurants are not as afraid of sugar as home-cooks, so if you're unsure, probably need more sugar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chocomel
      pearlyriver Aug 7, 2011 06:37 PM

      That's exactly what my Vietnamese mother taught me. Vietnamese people are not big on following a foolproof recipe. The great dishes are often the results of multiple tries, and recipes can always be reinterpreted to your own liking.

    2. Tom P Apr 18, 2011 12:38 PM

      Beebers, could you share your Spring Roll recipe with us?

      1. hillsbilly Apr 14, 2011 12:25 AM

        I agree with others that best ingredients are so important.

        Taste different brands, price is generally a good guide for asian ingredients from asian grocers. It might seem expensive this one first time but will save you money and heartache in the long term if you never buy a crappy sauce again. Some fish sauces and hoisins are bloody awful.

        Here in Australia, the only ok brand that makes it into (some of) our supermarkets is Lee Kum Kee but the rest of them are horrible. I would make the trip to an asian grocer if you've been relying on supermarket brands.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hillsbilly
          sharhamm Apr 14, 2011 05:47 AM

          This is a good recipe:

          1. re: sharhamm
            beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:52 AM

            Thanks so much!

        2. l
          LUV_TO_EAT Apr 13, 2011 04:18 PM

          Starting with good quality fish sauce (Viet Huong (3 Crabs) Fish Sauce) is very important...some are very salty. Other ingredients are also important. For hoisin - Lee Kum Kee. For rice wine vinegar - Marukan.

          3 crabs fish sauce can be two to three times more expensive than some other brands but it's the best of the bunch IMO and well worth it considering that it last quite a long time.

          Use recipe as a guide and trust your own taste buds is the only other thing I'd recommend.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LUV_TO_EAT
            beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:52 AM

            Thank you so much! I'm going to upgrade to these brands - you've been super helpful!

          2. saltwater Apr 12, 2011 09:28 PM

            I second the idea of using part juice, part vinegar, though I use more juice. Fish sauce varies enough by saltiness and fish-sauce-ness that the recipe would need to be altered to match your brand choice, in my opinion. Make sure to change the sugar and salt to taste, and don't be stuck with the recipe. But I make a Thai version of things, not Vietnamese, so take anything I say with that in mind.

            Perhaps your favorite restaurant does something un-traditional with the recipe? How "old" is their sauce? Has it had more of a chance to meld than you give it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: saltwater
              beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:51 AM

              Good point - it probably has some time to really meld. But I also think lessening the lime and getting a better fish sauce will help me!

            2. corneygirl Apr 12, 2011 05:28 PM

              I made this - paraphrased from "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen":

              2 chicken livers or 2 Tbs PB
              2 2Tbs + 1c H20
              1 Tbs neutral oil
              1 garlic clove mashed
              .25 - .5 tsp red pepper flake
              1 tsp tomato paste
              6 - 8 Tbsp hoisin
              1 tsp fish sauce
              1.5 tsp cornstarch in 1.5 tsp water
              2 Tbsp chopped peanut
              1 tsp toasted sesame

              Blend liver/PB with 2 Tbsp water. Heat oil, garlic, chili, tomato paste. Add rest of water ad liver. When it boils add hoisin, when it simmers again add cornstarch. Add fish sauce. Let it cool. Add peanut and sesame right before serving.

              Really good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: corneygirl
                beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:50 AM

                Thank you! I'll give this a shot!

              2. raytamsgv Apr 12, 2011 05:02 PM

                Have you tried asking your favorite Vietnamese restaurant about the brand they use?

                1 Reply
                1. re: raytamsgv
                  beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:50 AM

                  I guess I could - I just assumed they'd decline to share! Not a bad idea!

                2. chefj Apr 12, 2011 03:47 PM

                  I can that tell you that the Classic Nước chấm sauce for the Chả giò (fried spring rolls) does not have any oil in it.
                  This is a great recipe for it http://sundaynitedinner.com/vietnamese-dipping-sauce-nuoc-cham/
                  There is also a very good recipe for the Nước Lèo (peanut- hosin sauce) http://sundaynitedinner.com/goi-cuon-...
                  I have found both these recipes superior than most restaurant made sauces.
                  Hope it helps

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chefj
                    beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:49 AM

                    These look delicious! Thank you! In your experience is that the brand of fish sauce you use too?

                    1. re: beebers
                      chefj Apr 18, 2011 02:43 PM

                      No but the brand I use, 5 Crabs Fish Sauce, is made by the same company but is harder to find and not really for cooking with. 3 crabs is fine for cooking and dipping sauces and unless you use a lot of fish sauce it is probably best to stick with one that is all purpose.

                  2. mamachef Apr 12, 2011 03:38 PM

                    The key for me was to find the highest-quality nuoc mam I could find, and to do that I went to an Asian market and asked the owner. He also advised me to use half unseasoned rice vinegar for half the lime juice called for in the recipe, and it was delicious. good luck in your quest!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mamachef
                      beebers Apr 18, 2011 10:53 AM

                      Thank you!

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