I love how fresh Asian food can be. Now I’m not talking about take-out Chinese food that is often deep-fried and filled with thick sauces. I’m talking about Thai and Vietnamese food that’s colorful, fresh, and crispy when you take a bite out of it. Veggies are often showcased and paired with super tasty sauces and flavors.
I had to do a food-demo for one of my dietetic courses this past week, and I decided to make these delicious spring rolls. I think the class really enjoyed them, and I had fun doing the demo. I just love introducing people to new foods and cooking techniques!
Spring rolls are common appetizers on menus at Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. They usually run for about $7.00 for four or so rolls… you can make them at home for SO much cheaper!
Head to your local asian food mart and pick up a couple supplies, like rice paper wrappers and rice vermicelli, and make these super simple rolls for an exotic appetizer. Add some sort of protein, like a crab stick or tempeh, to the recipe and have a light lunch.
And let me mention this peanut sauce…. SO GOOD. Peanut butter and soy sauce might be my favorite flavor combination of all time! It’s slightly sweet, salty, and contains enough flavor to make anything delicious.
For the spring rolls:
10-12 rice wrappers (9” in diameter works well)
2 oz. rice vermicelli
1 red bell pepper, sliced into long strips
2 large carrots, grated
1 cucumber, sliced into long, thin strips
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
For the peanut dipping sauce:
½ cup of smooth peanut butter
3 T. water
3 T. tamari or soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
1 clove of garlic OR 1 t. garlic powder
juice of 1 lime
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1) Make the peanut sauce first to allow the flavors of the sauce to meld together. For the dipping sauce: in a medium sized bowl, warm up the peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds so it liquefies. Mix together all remaining peanut sauce ingredients into the warmed peanut butter. Put in refrigerator to chill as you prepare the spring rolls.
2) Cook rice vermicelli according to package directions. Once cooked, put in bowl near working station.
3) For the spring rolls, fill a shallow bowl with warm water. Dip one rice wrapper into the water, making sure the entire wrapper gets wet. Place wet wrapper onto a clean surface such as a cutting board. Arrange the veggies and vermicelli onto the rice paper, making sure to leave one-inch of space on each side of the paper. Tuck and roll spring roll as picture below instructs. Continue with each rice wrapper until veggies run out.
4) Remove peanut dipping sauce from refrigerator and enjoy!