Salmon Goi Cuon [Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls with Salmon]

Goi Cuon are Vietnamese rice paper rolls filled with poached pork and prawns, sundry herbs and other grated or shredded vegetables, and [precooked] rice vermicelli noodles.  The Vietnamese dipping sauce, nuoc cham, is served with these and many other street and market foods. In this variation I substituted the pork and prawns for salmon fillet, sautéed in a teriyaki/caramel type sauce then flaked.

You can prepare these just a short time before hand and leave in a cool dry place [not the fridge though], or do as I do and spread out a production line on the table so guests can construct their own – it’s a lot of fun and Vietnamese food is all about sharing and wrapping foodstuffs!Serves 4 as a substantial snack/meal, more as a starter or with other dishes.

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1 large piece or 2 small pieces fresh salmon fillet

3 tbs soy sauce

3 tbs rice wine

1 tbs sugar

1 carrot, top and tailed, peeled and grated

1 Lebanese cucumber, top and tailed, peeled roughly and sliced into matchsticks

1 avocado, peeled and diced into 1.5 cm cubes [optional]

3-4 leaves iceberg or other crispy lettuce, clean and dried, finely shredded

Bundle Chinese chives, rinsed and carefully dried but left whole

Bunch of Vietnamese/Thai basil and/or mint

1 bundle rice vermicelliRice paper rounds [banh trang]

. . . . . . . . . .

Nuoc cham Dipping Sauce

3 red chillies, top and tailed, then finely sliced on the diagonal

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

5 tbs fish sauce [nuoc mam]

1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice

3 tbs white sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 tbs finely grated carrot, for garnish [if desired]

. . . . . . . . . .


Heat a non stick frying pan with a little canola oil on a medium-high heat, then add the salmon fillet and seal on one side for a few minutes.  When the fillet moves when the pan is shaken it’s ready to flip over – if you try to run a fish slice under it and flip it before then it will stick and you’ll lose the nice crunchy outer layer.  Cook the other side for a few minutes then add the soy sauce, rice wine and sugar, and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.  Flip the fillet over a couple more times in the sauce; it doesn’t matter if it falls apart a little as you’ll be shredding it soon!

Don’t allow the fish to over-cook, make sure it’s still only half-way cooked through the middle.  Remove from the pan to a plate and allow to cool.  When it’s cool [you can continue prepping the other ingredients] flake into small bite-size pieces and spoon into a bowl, spooning all the juices and remains of sauce with the fish until combined.

Prep the vegetables.  The avocado is not authentic but I like the smooth texture it gives along with the salmon.  Arrange the vegetables and sprigs of herbs on a large platter and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the rice vermicelli, fill a small saucepan two-thirds full of warm water, add salt and put over a high heat.  Immediately place the bundle of noodles into the saucepan and gently loosen the noodles with a fork or chopsticks as they soften.  By the time the water has boiled the noodles should be done.  Drain and lay out on a plate to dry.  [If you have your own preferred method of cooking noodles go with that; I’ve found this way, by trial and error, always results in well-cooked noodles with a little bite, not mushy and disintegrated.]

To make the nuoc cham dipping sauce:  Put two-thirds of the chillies into a heavy mortar [I have a gorgeous green granite one, weighs a ton but I love it so] with the garlic and sugar.  The remaining chillies are for garnish.  If you like more heat, leave more/most of the seeds in.  Pound the chillies, garlic and sugar with the pestle to a rough paste.  You can of course use a food processor but only pulse for a few seconds as you want a rough consistency not a smooth paste; I use the short cut of my Braun a lot but prefer a mortar and pestle for this sauce.  Add the fish sauce, lime juice and warm water and stir well.  Pour into a couple of small Asian sauce dishes, add the remaining chillies and the grated carrot and leave for about 15 minutes before serving for the flavours to develop.

. . . . . . . . . .


I really love the DIY approach though of course you can make the rolls beforehand, but then you run the risk of them drying out, and also being in a frazzle in the kitchen when your guests arrive and you’d really love a bourbon and coke but you have to wrap these goddamn rolls … Anyway I think the DIY approach is much more friendly, fun and more in keeping with authentic Vietnamese eating culture.

Place the platters of flaked salmon, vegetables and herbs, rice noodles, and bowls of nuoc cham on the table.  In the middle of the table place a large bowl full of hot water – big enough to float the banh trang [rice paper rounds] – which is in fact what you’ll be doing.

Give each person a plate and a lot of paper serviettes!Dip the rice paper round into the hot water until it becomes soft and pliable.  Carefully remove to a plate.  From about a third from the bottom place a line of noodle strands about 2.5 cm wide, leaving about 2 cm free of ingredients at the edges.  Add some flakes of salmon, the shredded lettuce, grated carrot and cucumber sticks, and shreds of herbs across the line of noodles – not too much as you don’t want to overload the rice paper.

Roll up from the bottom, as tight as you can, pressing firmly.  Fold in the edges and roll up once more, pressing and tightening as much as you can without breaking the rice paper.  Place a chive on the rice paper alongside the roll so the pointy end sticks out one end and finish rolling.

Dip into nuoc cham and enjoy!  Repeat as often as required.  Oh-so-messy but oh-so-delicious.

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  • automotive jacks  On Saturday 14 March 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I have to say, that I can not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my opinion, which could be wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template . Where did you find it?


  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Sunday 29 June 2008 at 5:34 pm

    […] Goi Cuon With Salmon   [Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad Rolls With Salmon] […]

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