My kids always want to help me cook, even my toddler. While I’m not ready to let my 2 year old near the stove, I let them help prep ingredients or bake whenever I can. Besides helping me measure, pour and stir ingredients, my kids love to play with their dinner as well.
One of my favorite recipes for a fun dinner with my kids is Vietnamese spring rolls (sometimes called summer rolls). Not only do they choose what goes into their spring rolls, they get to play with it. If you’ve never had Vietnamese spring rolls before, you’ll love how simple yet flexible the recipe is. It’s healthy and encourages your kids to eat their veggies. (Double yay!).
Preparing the ingredients may take a bit of time beforehand but even you will enjoy rolling your very own spring rolls. Older kids can help cutting the softer veggies like cucumbers while the younger ones can help you wet the rice paper wrappers or mix the dipping sauce.
The recipe calls for chicken and shrimp but you can substitute whatever protein you like: tofu, pork, omelet, etc. Once all the ingredients are ready, give the kids a quick rolling lesson (great video from Chef Ming Tsai) and let them loose. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even realize how healthy their dinner is!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls Recipe
½ pound of medium shrimp, cooked
½ pound poached chicken breast, shredded
1 package of thin rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1 medium cucumber, seeded and cut into 3-4 inch strips
1 cup of bean sprouts
Thai basil, mint, cilantro (pick one or any combination)
Large spring round spring roll wrappers (8″-10″ in diameter) also called rice paper wrappers
Boil water in large pot. Once water comes to boil, add rice noodles and cook until al dente about 3-5 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse well with cold water. Set aside to continue to drain and cool.
To assemble the spring roll:
Wet spring roll wrapper in warm water and set on plate or cutting board for easy rolling. On end of the spring roll, assemble your ingredients, starting 1” from edge: 1 piece of cucumber, shredded carrots, a small handful of rice noodles, cilantro & basil leaves, then place 2-3 shrimp on top depending on size of the wrapper. Just layer everything on top of each ot her. Be careful not to over fill. Fold edge over the filling and roll over once. Then fold over each side and continue to roll. Lay seam side down while you continue rolling the rest.
Serve with dipping sauce (recipe below)
Hoisin Dipping Sauce for Vietnamese Spring Rolls