Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Summer Rolls
or Chicken Salad Rolls
These Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Summer Rolls are packed with amazing flavour and are a delicious and healthy snack or meal. Paired with our authentic peanut dipping sauce and you’ve got one delicious, fresh and light snack. I love these these chicken salad rolls because they are also a tasty alternative to the traditional shrimp and pork salad rolls.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.
I have a confession, Chicken Farmers of Canada challenged me this month to make a culturally diverse recipe. Well that part wasn’t a challenge for me because if you’ve been following Powered by Mom for a while you know we have several culturally diverse recipes from Jamaican, Moroccan, South Asian, Greek, Thai, Mexican and of course several Vietnamese recipes because my mother was Vietnamese.
So what was my challenge?
Here’s where my confession comes in, it’s rolling rice paper for salad rolls or as it seems many people call them now summer rolls. Yep I was kind of afraid of that delicate, finicky rice paper so I avoided it. After all, mom made salad rolls, every Vietnamese restaurant here in the Vancouver area makes salad rolls and well you get the idea. It was easy for me to NOT make them after my first few disastrous attempts years ago.
Tips for rolling rice paper for chicken salad rolls
Funny enough before I received this challenge I had already decided it was time to conquer my lack of skill at rolling rice paper for Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls and really any salad rolls. I’m going to share some tips I learned from some aunties and the best tip I can give right now is PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
I’m sure that seems obvious but as someone who was impatient in her youth (and okay maybe now too) and self-critiques her food presentation a bit too much (I’m getting better at not doing this I promise), I didn’t really practice after my two failed attempts.
Now here I am all proud of myself because it’s true practice does make perfect along with listening to your elders (in this case my “aunties”) and their tips because in my case at least my aunties and of course my mom when she was still with us were the pros and making Vietnamese food.
Make sure to PIN our Chicken Summer Rolls Recipe
Salad roll, summer roll or spring roll?
In our family, in English we called them salad rolls which is the literal translation from Vietnamese. I noticed that a lot of people call them summer rolls and when searching on Google summer rolls seemed more popular so I included that. We personally never call them spring rolls because we call the deep fried rolls (that use rice paper or Egg roll wrap) spring rolls in English. Call them what you want but if you ask me about them I’ll say salad roll first and then summer roll lol
Tip# 1 for rolling Vietnamese Chicken Summer Rolls (or any rolls)
Use cool water to make the rice paper soft. A lot of recipes tell you to soak the rice paper in warm water but cooler (not cold) water makes them less sticky and fragile. Warm water softens them quickly and often times they tear easier. Rice paper tears easily already you don’t need to make it any easier. Even with cold water it doesn’t take long at all, like seconds.
Tip# 2 for rolling lemongrass chicken summer rolls
Keep your work surface wet. Rice paper gets sticky. You want to keep it wet (not soaking wet) so it doesn’t stick to your work surface. I keep it on damp paper towels and I keep a small bowl of water nearby to sprinkle water on when needed. My photo doesn’t show it on the paper towels because the white rice paper on the white paper towels would be hard to see it.
Tip# 3 Use Lettuce to Hold Fillings Together
If you’re a beginner at rolling rice paper for salad rolls try putting the veggies like the matchstick carrots, cucumber, the vermicelli noodles & some herbs in a lettuce leaf before rolling them in the rice paper. Mine don’t have lettuce because now that I’ve finally conquered rolling salad rolls I don’t need the lettuce and I prefer to have my rolls without. I find too many restaurants put way too much lettuce in their summer rolls.
Tip#4 Don’t Overfill!
I was very guilty of this one in the beginning. Don’t put in too much filling, the more you put in the harder it will be to roll it because the rice paper will most likely tear. As there’s different sizes of rice paper you’re going to have to gauge or do trial and error what the perfect amount is for you.
Tip# 5 Roll from one end to the other
Have you ever wrapped burritos? Pretty much the same concept. As show in the photos above, place the fillings on one end but not on the edge. Start rolling the rice paper wrapper up at that end and then stop and fold in both sides.
Tip# 6 Keep the Veggies dry
Your rice paper is already wet so don’t let your filling get any more moisture on it than necessary. Keep the veggies dry, the noodles while they’ve been cooked you don’t want moisture dripping off them either.
There you have it, those are my best tips or a combination of mine and my aunties, mostly from my aunties but it’s made me be able to roll my own lemongrass chicken summer rolls and any rolls I want to now with rice paper.
Use quality ingredients
Another tip I always like to offer is to use quality ingredients. Get Fresh herbs and vegetables and quality chicken. I always buy chicken with the Raised by a Canadian Farmer label on it. Canadian chicken is a healthy choice that it’s grain-fed, free of added hormones and steroids, and raised right here in Canada according to nationally-set, high food safety and animal care standards. It’s important to use for quality and supporting family-owned local farms.
What herbs do you use in summer rolls?
This is up to you but we tend to use Thai basil and mint. I’ve only been to a few restaurants that have mint their summer rolls but again this is how my mom made them and we love them this way. Alternatively you can also use cilantro but I know people either love cilantro or hate it.
Okay I know I’ve provided a lot of tips but I don’t want you to struggle like I did but here we go let’s get to this chicken summer rolls recipe now shall we?
- 6–8 chicken thighs (depending on size), boneless and skinless
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1.5 stalks lemongrass using only the white part which is about 1/3 of the stalk. (See notes)
- 1 cup Julienned carrots
- Sliced cucumbers half to a full cucumber depending on how much you want in the roll
- 1 cup Vermicelli noodles (before they’re cooked)
- Rice paper the ones I used were 22cm/8-9 inches
- Lettuce optional
- Thai Basil*
- Mint Leaves*
- Combine chicken thighs and marinade ingredients and set aside for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours in the fridge. You can make the lemongrass chicken ahead of time
- Prepare Peanut Sauce (this can me made ahead of time). GO HERE for our peanut sauce recipe.
- Prepare vermicelli noodles as per the package instructions (see notes)
- Dip Rice paper into cool water until it softens. Time depends on size but it’s seconds usually.
- Assemble the salad rolls with the chicken first and then the
veggies, herbs & lettuce (if using) and noodles
- Roll up like a burrito and eat right away with the peanut
In lieu of lemongrass stalks you can use lemongrass paste for the lemongrass chicken.
You can use lettuce in the summer roll as per in our post it makes it easier to assemble the roll if you place some of the other filling ingredients in the lettuce first.
While we love to use Thai basil and mint leaves you can skip or use cilantro if you like or not add them at all.
Vermicelli noodles. We tend to soak our noodles in cold water first for about 10 minutes while the water boils in a pot on the stove. Then we place in the pot for about a minute, it doesn't take long so make sure to be watching.
Make sure to check out post for all the tips on how to roll with rice paper.
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Serving Size:1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134kcalTotal Fat: 9ggSaturated Fat: 4ggCholesterol: 32mgmgSodium: 340mgmgCarbohydrates: 5ggSugar: 3ggProtein: 9gg
So what do you think are you game to try this chicken summer rolls recipe? For other tasty chicken recipes on the Chicken Farmers of Canada website. Make sure to follow them too!
I am going to leave you with one last yummy photo. If you try our Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls make sure to let us know how you liked them and any variations you loved or hated.