As the weather warms, these fresh spring rolls make a perfect appetizer or light main dish.
Fresh spring rolls are made with a thin rice paper wrapper and a combination of thinly sliced vegetables, proteins, noodles, and herbs. The hardest part about making them is seeing the wrapper once you wet it. They are very thin and almost transparent when wet. And chopping-these do involve a lot of vegetable chopping.
To make the rolls:
Fill a large shallow bowl (or plate with a rimmed edge) with warm water. Dip one piece of rice paper into the water, just until the wrapper begins to soften (about 15 seconds); make sure to wet entire piece. Lay the wrapper on a separate plate, textured side up, with a small edge hanging off of the plate (this will make it easier to start rolling). Don’t wet more than one wrapper at a time; they will quickly stick together.
Place a combination of desired vegetables, protein/noodles, and herbs on the bottom part of the rice paper. Fold the bottom edge of the rice paper over the filling and roll tightly once or twice. Fold in the two sides and then continue rolling completely.
Fresh spring rolls should be served the same day as making then. If you do need to store leftovers, store rolls (not touching) in a single layer; the rice paper gets sticky as it starts to dry and they will stick together if stored in layers.
Below are ideas for vegetable, protein, noodle, and herb fillings that can be used, and recipes for various dipping sauces. Pictured above are Spicy Sesame, Creamy Peanut, and Sweet Chili Hoisin Dipping Sauces.
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
Spring Roll Wrappers (rice paper)
Filling ingredients (use any combination of the following):
Vegetables (julienned or thinly sliced):
Cucumbers (seeds removed)
Sweet bell peppers
Snap or snow pea pods
Blanched French green beans
Cooked shrimp (peeled and tails removed)
Grilled, sliced chicken
Chopped roasted chicken
Tofu strips (raw or deep fried)
Rice vermicelli noodles (cooked)
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
Green onions, julienned
Thinly julienne or slice all of the vegetables and other filling items you will be using; try for long, thin shapes as you cut. Shrimp and herb leaves can be left whole.
Fill a shallow bowl (or plate with a rimmed edge) with warm water. Dip one piece of rice paper into the water, just until the wrapper begins to soften (about 15 seconds); make sure to wet entire piece. Lay the wrapper on a separate plate, textured side up, with a small edge hanging off of the plate (this will make it easier to start rolling).
Place a combination of desired vegetables, protein/noodles, and herbs on the bottom part of the rice paper. Fold the bottom edge of the rice paper over the filling and roll tightly once or twice. Fold in the two sides and then continue rolling completely. For an artistic touch: place whole herb leaves in the last layer of your roll so that they show up brightly on the top of your spring roll.
Cut rolls in half on an angle and serve immediately with dipping sauces. Spring rolls should be served the same day they are prepared.
Spring Roll Dipping Sauces
Spicy Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs Hoisin sauce
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
3 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs peanut butter
1 tsp chili paste
1 oz dry roasted peanuts, chopped
In a small saucepan, add chicken broth and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Stir in remaining ingredients, except for peanuts. Stir until peanut butter dissolves and sauce thickens. Add additional peanut butter, if desired, to make a thicker sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Creamy Peanut Dipping Sauce:
About ½ cup coconut milk
¼ cup peanut butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp Sriracha
Mix well. Start with ½ cup coconut milk and add additional coconut milk if needed until sauce is desired consistency.
Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients.
Coconut Tahini Dipping Sauce:
About ½ cup coconut milk
½ cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs Mirin (sweetened rice vinegar)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame seeds
½ tsp chili paste
Whisk together all ingredients. Add additional coconut milk, if needed, until sauce is desired consistency.
Sweet Chili Hoisin Dipping Sauce:
Thai Sweet Chili sauce
Combine equal parts of chili and hoisin sauce. Mix well.
Cilantro Ranch Dip:
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbs milk
2 Tbs green salsa
1 clove garlic
Juice from half of a lime
1 jalapeno (with or without seeds)
½ package (or 1 ½ Tbs) ranch dressing mix
½ cup fresh cilantro
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed. Chill 1-2 hours before serving. Serve w/ southwest flavored spring rolls: marinated grilled chicken, avocados, green onions, cilantro, and desired vegetables.