Katie: While we had summer-like weather here last weekend, it has now cooled down to more typical spring weather. So while I had been considering making a recipe for Tequila Lime Shrimp, my thoughts on cooking shifted along with the temperature. Instead, I decided to try some fresh spring rolls. I’m not sure if I’d ever eaten them before, let alone made them, but I was inspired by the descriptions and pictures here and here.
I found rice paper at an Asian grocery store, along with some other interesting and inexpensive ingredients. I made small portions of three different sauces to accompany the spring rolls: an Asian peanut butter sauce, a soy sauce mixture, and a mango sauce. I prepared julliened carrots and sweets potatoes with fresh ginger, but left the rest of the vegetables raw. The process of making the spring rolls was kind of like a science experiment. The rice paper turns soft shortly after contacting water, so we could make them pretty quickly.
These turned out well and were fun to make! Spring rolls are usually described as an appetizer, but they can easily be served as a main course, depending on how many you make. This was a meal that I think would be fun to make with guests too. And since hardly any cooking is involved, they would be good for hot summer days too.
- rice paper (I found 1 pound for 1.50 Euros at an Asian food store)
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- 2 small sweet potatoes, julienned
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 squeeze of fresh lemon
- an assortment of fresh vegetables of your choice, diced or julienned (I used a red bell pepper, a red cabbage, bean sprouts, a cucumber, and green onions)
- shrimp (optional; I used some small river crabs)
- sauces of your choice (I substituted peanut butter in this recipe for Almond Butter Dipping Sauce; combined soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds for a second sauce; and used my mango dressing for a third sauce)
- Prepare sauces and set aside.
- Put the olive oil, agave syrup, and ginger in a skillet over medium heat and cook just slightly. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix with sesame seeds and lemon juice. Set aside.
- Fill a shallow dish a little larger than the rice paper with warm water. (I used the my frying pan lid.)
- Place one wrap in the water until it becomes soft and pliable (about 3o seconds).
- Remove the wrap carefully and transfer to a clean working surface.
- Fill with vegetables. Fold top, then sides, then bottom to close.
- Top with sauce and enjoy!