home cooked dinners by the season

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh spring rolls are actually way easier to make than you might think. Armed with a few fresh ingredients – quite possible already in your refrigerator – the rice wrappers and the 5 ingredients needed for the peanut sauce you are ready to go. My recipe here is intended only as a guide as there are as many substitutions as there are ingredients you like. 

Many grocery stores carry the rice wrapper in the Asian section. And if you are lucky to have a specialty Asian grocery store nearby, you can find them in several sizes of the round shape and in a square shape as well. Using these wrappers will be the only tricky part of this recipe as they need to be dipped in warm water just a few seconds to make them soft enough to handle. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get the feel of the right amount of softness –  I am still sometimes caught off guard not soaking them enough or too long! Once you have rolled a few you will be a pro. 

I include protein in mine to make them a more substantial meal. Tofu (preferably baked tofu as it has more flavor) is usually my first choice as I am always seeking ways to cut down on my meat footprint. Cooked chicken, prawns, salmon or beef are all great substitutions, or do not add any protein at all. At least two fresh herbs – such as basil and cilantro – are mandatory for me as they elevate the flavor immensely. Which lettuce and vegetables you use are completely up to you. Only use my recipe as a guide. That is what is so unique and fun about making these. 

Rice wrappers

Slide the rice wrapper into a shallow bowl of warm water and completely submerge for 15 to 20 seconds, the wrapper should feel softened but still a little flexible then remove to a paper towel or towel to remove any excess waterPut ingredients on center of softened wrapper

Fold bottom edge up over center then each side to center like an envelope

Finish rolling up wrapper

Fresh Spring Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • 12 Rice paper wrappers
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 3 cups shredded Romaine lettuce or 12 red or green leaf lettuce or butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 4"x1/2" sticks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 4x1/2" sticks
  • 2-3 green onions, cut into thin 4" pieces
  • 2 packages baked tofu (or one package regular tofu, drained well) cut into 4"x1/2" sticks (cooked peeled prawns, salmon, chicken or beef can be substituted)
Instructions
  1. To make assembling easier have all filling ingredients ready at your work space.
  2. Fill a shallow dish large enough to hold the rice wrapper with a few inches of warm water. Slide wrapper into the water and submerge it completely until just slightly softened, about 15 to 20 seconds; the wrapper should feel softened but still a little flexible; remove it to a towel or paper towels to remove excess water.
  3. For each softened wrapper: in the center middle put several basil and cilantro sprigs, ¼ cup of shredded lettuce or a lettuce leaf, a few cucumber, carrot, green onion and tofu sticks. Bring bottom edge of wrapper up to the edge of the filling ingredients, then fold in the right and left sides. Roll wrapper tightly.
  4. Keep whole or cut in half and serve with peanut sauce.
Notes
Easy Peanut Sauce

Whisk together:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup warm water (add more if needed for desired consistency)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1-2 teaspoons red chili paste or siracha sauce or 14/ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

 

 


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