Do it yourself Vietnamese Prawns Summer Rolls

Now, this Vietnamese Prawns Summer Rolls is the kind of thirty-minute meal even foodies like us will love. Fresh ingredients, nothing pre-cut or pre-cooked, but still you can put it together in less than 30 minutes, ok, 45 with not-so-fast knife skills. The ingredients are not all that exotic either: if you can find Prawns, fish sauce, and lemongrass at your local market you’re all set.

As we’re getting deeper into the summer season, I’m always craving something light and refreshing. This Vietnamese wrap dinner I put together the other day fits the bill perfectly. And no, you don’t need an outdoor grill to make this dish. I grilled my prawn “kebobs” right there on a ridged pan on my kitchen range. It works just as well for this. It’s also a pretty low-stress dish, you don’t even need to bother rolling each one before serving. Just put everything on a big platter and set out some dry rice paper with a bowl of warm or tepid water. Your guests can roll their own as they eat. It’s more fun that way anyway.

I didn’t even start out with a recipe, so I’m not even sure if I should write this as one. It’s really so much simpler than that. I guess I’ll just talk you through it, it really is that simple.

Do-it-yourself Vietnamese Prawn Summer Rolls
Do-it-yourself Vietnamese Prawn Summer Rolls

So, the basic ingredients are some prawns, use a good-sized one because the tiny ones are just too annoying to peel. The prawn marinade consists of lemongrass, garlic, cilantro roots, a bit of oyster sauce (if you had it, a sprinkle of brown sugar if not), and fish sauce. You’ll need one or two medium carrots, and some daikon radish (if you can find it), and you’ll also need a bit of rice vinegar (white wine vinegar will do in a pinch) and sugar to “pickle” them.

Any nice and crunchy veggies you’d like to add to your roll, I usually add some cucumber slices, and definitely a bunch of nice lettuce. You’ll also need some basil (Thai basil will be nice but regular basil will be just fine too) and some mint, perhaps also cilantro.

You’ll need Vietnamese rice paper, of course, it won’t be a Vietnamese wrap dinner without them, so hopefully, you could find them at your local Chinese store. Get some rice vermicelli too while you’re at all, I like to bulk up my rolls with them, but then again not everyone is a carb-lover like me so perhaps it’s not so essential.

For the sauce, I use peanut butter mixed with Thai roasted chili paste–completely inauthentic of course but I love it and I think it adds a nice zing to the sauce. Some sambal is to be added to the table so each person can make it as hot as they want. Don’t forget a bottle or two of good rieslings to wash everything down properly.

I’d start with the quick “pickled” carrots and daikon. Take about two medium carrots and perhaps a daikon radish too if you can find it. Use a box grater to cut them into thin ribbons, about an inch or two long. Put a cup or so of rice vinegar in a small pot, add to it about half a cup of sugar, and heat up just until the sugar is melted. Pour the mixture over the carrot and daikon ribbons and just let them macerate while you attend to other things in the recipe. By the time everything is done your “pickles” will be ready.

Then you move on to the prawns. Depends on how much your friends or family like prawns, but about two pounds should feed about for people for dinner, I’d say. Make a marinade with some lemongrass–use only the bottom two inches on a stalk, peel out one or two outer, tough layers, and chop finely.

You’ll need about 3-4 tablespoons of chopped lemongrass. Pound that with four cloves of garlic, a few turns of pepper, and about 1-2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro roots or stems. If you add a handful of rough salt to the mortar, you’ll have an easier time working everything into a fine paste. (You can easily do this in a small food processor if you’re not up for elbow grease.)

Once everything comes together into a paste, transfer it into a large bowl, and add about 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, and about 3-4 spoonfuls of fish sauce. Taste it and see if you like the taste, add more fish sauce or oyster sauce if you think it needs it. I’ll also add about 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil just to make sure everything sticks to the prawns nicely.

Mix everything well and then throw in all the prawns, shells, and heads and all, and toss them around to coat well with the paste. I sometimes clean the prawns by cutting the shell through the back of the prawns (using a kitchen shear) and pulling out the black vein inside before tossing it into the marinade, but when I’m lazy I just don’t. It’s not as pretty but it won’t kill you either. Let the prawns marinate while you put other stuff together.

If you’re really short on time, you can skip this marinating business altogether. Just make sure you sprinkle them with some salt and pepper when you grill them. They’ll be perfectly fine.

My sauce is super simple, I just mix some peanut butter with a bit of my homemade roasted chili paste–your store-bought one will be just fine. The roasted chili paste is a little garlicky, a little sour, a little salty, and a little spicy–just perfect for adding a bit of complexity to the peanut sauce. Depending on how sticky your brand of peanut sauce is you might want to thin it out a little with some water. I also put a bowl of sambal out so that each person at the dinner table can add just as much or as little to their own bowl as they like.

Set a big platter out and put the lettuce, cucumber, basil, mints, cilantro, and pretty much any other veggies you’d like in your wrap on it. Make sure you cut them into easily-wrappable sizes, by the way. If you’d like a bit more carb, cook a little bit of rice vermicelli and put them out on the platter as well.

You’re almost there. Now you just need to grill up the prawns. I don’t bother with a real outdoor barbeque for this. I just use a ridge cast iron pan right there on my stovetop. You can throw the prawns loose in the pan, but the easier way to do it is to put five or six prawns on two sticks into prawn kebobs. Flipping these kebobs on the grill is much easier than trying to flip each prawn one at a time.

The prawns should only take a couple of minutes on each side. When they are done, set them out on a platter in the middle of the table. The last thing that you need to do is to drain the “pickles”. Pour out the vinegar from the carrot and daikon ribbons and put them on the same platter as the veggies.

Set out a couple of big bowls filled with warm water on the table next to the dried rice paper and you’re ready to serve. Give each of your dinner guests their own little bowl of peanut sauce so they can add as much or as little sambal as they want. Each person can take a dried rice paper, soften it for a minute in the warm water, and then make their own wrap with the grilled prawns, veggies, and herbs. Roll it into a big wrap and dip it into their tailored peanut sauce. Wash the whole thing down with a bottle or two of good Riesling, for the table, not for each diner.

Do-it-yourself Vietnamese Prawns Summer Rolls


Thank you

Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 12, 2023

The recipe was easy to follow, and the results were simply fantastic. The combination of fresh ingredients, aromatic herbs, and savory flavors made this dish a true culinary gem. The prawns were perfectly cooked, tender, and bursting with authentic Vietnamese flavors. I can’t wait to explore more recipes on this website and add a touch of Vietnam to my home cooking.


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Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 12, 2023

I recently tried the Vietnamese Prawns recipe, and it was an absolute delight! The step-by-step instructions were clear and easy to follow, making it a breeze for even a novice cook like me. The combination of fresh prawns, aromatic herbs, and zesty lime created a burst of flavors that transported me straight to the streets of Vietnam. What’s more, the dish looked as good as it tasted – a perfect showstopper for dinner parties. Thanks, I’ve found a new favorite dish that’s sure to become a regular in my kitchen!


A Taste of Vietnam at its Best!

Rated 4.0 out of 5
October 12, 2023

I recently tried the Vietnamese Prawns recipe, and it was an absolute delight! The step-by-step instructions were easy to follow, making the preparation a breeze. The combination of fresh herbs, succulent prawns, and zesty lime created a burst of flavors that transported me straight to the streets of Hanoi. What impressed me most was the authenticity of this recipe; it truly captures the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. If you’re looking for an exquisite dish that’s simple to make, this Vietnamese Prawns recipe is a must-try.


Vietnamese Prawns – A Flavorful Delight!

Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 12, 2023

I recently tried the Vietnamese Prawns recipe from, and it was an absolute delight! The flavors were truly authentic and transported me to the streets of Vietnam. The recipe was easy to follow, and I appreciated the detailed instructions and ingredient list. The combination of fresh herbs and zesty marinade made the prawns incredibly flavorful and succulent. If you’re looking for a taste of Vietnam in your kitchen, this recipe is a must-try.


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