Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Tamarind Tree Restaurant Review

Picture from Tamarind Tree Website

One of my favorite Asian restaurants in Seattle is the Tamarind Tree.  It is a Vietnamese restaurant located in the international district, tucked away in a little corner.  But it is definitely worth visiting if you haven’t been.  If you are going on the weekends, please do make a reservation there is usually at least a 30 minutes wait during that time at night.

At the Tamarind Tree you can sit in the main dinning room, and my preference is right next to the fire, or you can sit outside with the heat lights and waterfall.  Either way the place is always busy.

The menu is pretty daunting, it’s large and many things sound amazing.  But there are 4 key items I always order and would recommend.

Tofu rollsSalad roll with fresh herbs and fried tofu served with vegetarian soy sauce. Even if you do not like tofu you will like these rolls.  I always order these.

Hai Nam chicken rice pot. Rice cooked in chicken broth and fresh coconut juice topped with steamed chicken served with ginger fish sauce. This dish is very comforting.  Rice pot served with some great things in it so good. Perfect for a cold night. 

Chicken ginger vodka – Skinless chicken braised overnight in vodka infused ginger. Deliciously prepared chicken. 

Chili beef lemongrass
Beef slices stir fried with fresh lemongrass, freshly chopped chili peppers, white onion, and green onion. A spicy dish but filled with lots of amazing flavors. 

There are many other things on the menu that are good but these are my favorite.  Let me know what else you like to order here.

Tamarind Tree
1036 South Jackson Street, Suite A,
Seattle, WA 98104

Print Recipe

Vietnamese Spring Rolls 

Yield: 12 rolls

Total Time: 45 minutes


For the dipping sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp Chinese soy sauce
1/4 cup Thai red chili sauce
1 tbsp kosher salt
Thai fish sauce, to taste

For the spring rolls
6 (4 1/2-inch-square) Chinese egg-roll wrappers
Oil for frying
2 ounces vermicelli noodles
12 large leaves green leaf lettuce, washed and spun dry
12 large sprigs fresh basil leaves, washed and spun dry
12 large sprigs fresh mint, washed and spun dry
36 sprigs cilantro, washed and spun dry
4 ounces finely shredded carrot
12 (6-inch round) rice-paper spring-roll wrappers


1. To make the dipping sauce. Dissolve the palm sugar in boiling water and stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce and salt. Add fish sauce, to taste. Keep the sauce at room temperature until serving time.

2. To make the rolls. Cut each of the egg-roll wrappers into 4 long strips. Working with one strip at a time, roll the strips lengthwise into cigarette shapes, sealing the cylinders by brushing the edge of each wrapper with a little water. In a frying pan with about an inch of oil, fry the cylinders, two or three at a time, until they become crisp and golden brown. Drain the fried wrappers on paper towels and hold them at room temperature until you are ready to assemble the spring rolls.

3. Cut the tofu in strips and fry it in a pan until golden.  Set aside for assemble.

4. Pour hot tap water over the vermicelli noodles just enough to cover them, about 2 cups. When the noodles are clear and pliable, after about 15 minutes, drain them and keep them refrigerated until serving time. Split the lettuce leaves in half lengthwise. Keep the herbs, the lettuce and the carrots cold in separate containers until just before serving time.

5. When you are ready to serve the rolls, have a shallow dish or pie pan filled with hot tap water (about 110 degrees). Soak the spring-roll wrappers, one at a time, in the hot water just until barely soft and pliable, about 30 seconds. Lay a soaked wrapper on a clean work surface and place two pieces of green leaf lettuce end to end in the center of the wrapper with the curly ends hanging out over the edge. Lay a small bundle of the  noodles and a few shredded carrots on top of the lettuce.  Add a strip of tofu. Strip the leaves from a sprig of basil and sprig of mint and cilantro and put the leaves on top of the noodles and carrots. Place two of the fried egg-roll wrappers on top of the pile and roll the spring roll wrapper around the pile, tightening everything into a neat bundle as you roll.

6. Cut the roll in half. Place the two halves, cut side down on a chilled salad plate. The ends of the lettuce leaves and the fried egg roll wrappers will poke out above the edges of the wrapper. Serve the rolls at once with a small dish of dipping sauce on the plate.


Adapted from: Seattle Times

I love the Tofu Rolls at the Tamarind Tree so much that I was very excited so see that The Seattle Times recently featured a similar recipe of the rolls in an article and I saved it so I could make it at home. And let me tell you that they are as delicious at home as they are at the Tamarind Tree, I made a few adjustment and they are amazing.  One just has to have little patience and time to do them, but they are a huge hit for a dinner party.

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16 Responses to “Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Tamarind Tree Restaurant Review”

  1. 1

    Maddie — August 5, 2010 @ 6:03 am

    You’re totally making me want to visit Seattle! Here in Virginia, I live right by an entire Vietnamese mall, with Vietnamese restaurants, karaoke bars, jewelry shops, and bakeries galore. While I’ve always bought my spring rolls there, making these would be a fun kitchen experiment. 🙂

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

      Maddie, you so have to come to Seattle!!! That is cool that you live next to a vietnamese mall, must have some great produce.

  2. 2

    IslandEAT — August 5, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    Hi, Ewa. I’ll keep this restaurant in mind on upcoming Seattle trips. Though Vancouver has great Vietnamese spots (and even Victoria), the dishes you recommend look delishhh – as does the recipe.



    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

      Dan, if you ever come to Seattle let me know, i will give you a long list of places to go and eat. 🙂 I will probably reach out to you when i go to Vancouver too.

  3. 3

    Juliana — August 9, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    I love these wraps, specially in Summer…so yummie!

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

      Juliana – Me Too. Have you done any good summer dishes lately you are drooling over?

  4. 4

    pierre — August 10, 2010 @ 7:41 am

    i love everything here recipe and photo bravo to you !!pierre

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

      Pierre, thank you so much! Always nice to see you here.

  5. 5

    Sarah — August 10, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Yummm just like at the vietnese restuarant! soo good, healthy and easy!

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

      Sara, thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget the giveaway ending today.

  6. 6

    Gabby — August 11, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    Excellent sauce! I will sometimes substitute chicken for the shrimp and I also like to use fresh carrots, bean sprouts, and scallions. It’s always a crowd pleaser, a great summer dish.

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

      Gabby – thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway!

  7. 7

    Darina — August 12, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    I love spring rolls. There’s a great Vietnamese spring roll house near my place so I never bother making my own but now maybe I will one day. It’s the best way to know what you’ re eating, isn’t it?

    • Delishhh replied: — August 27th, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

      Darina – I agree i love spring rolls. I don’t know about you but there is a huge satisfaction in making your own spring rolls and eating them. I think they are a little time consuming but it is worth it.

  8. 8

    Kath — October 2, 2010 @ 6:19 am

    I went to Tamarind Tree for the first time yesterday. It is excellent. I had one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes – Bún th?t n??ng – hot grilled pork served over cold noodles with lots of salad-type vegetables and a delicious sweet sauce to pour over all. It was great!

    Thanks for your recommendations; the Hai Nam chicken rice pot sounds especially good!

  9. 9

    Frank Melocco — January 11, 2011 @ 1:22 am

    Wow…Great post. I never know that Vietnam’s spring roll made with roll. I would like to go there and taste these yummy rolls. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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