A couple weeks ago, my husband went around on a tour of some of the old-time, local restaurants here in town with a couple of his buddies from work. He came home with a container of salsa from a Hispanic grocery store, a bag of goodies from a bakery, and begging me to find a recipe for spring rolls. I guess they had eaten at this Thai place that he really enjoyed.
Luckily, I didn't have to look too far for a recipe. Ever have one of those times when a recipe shows up exactly when you need it? It doesn't seem to happen very often around here, but I had just seen a recipe for vegetable spring rolls here at The Novice Chef Blog the day before. That was the deciding factor. We were going to give spring rolls a whirl.
These rolls really were pretty easy to make. Chopping veggies is probably the part that takes the longest. We did have some trouble locating soba noodles at the local grocery stores, but it was because they were out of stock everywhere we went? I subbed in half the noodles from a package of ramen (without the seasoning), and it seemed to work well enough for our purposes. It did take some time to get used to working with the rice paper, but after I filled a couple papers, I got the hang of it pretty well. The diagram on the back of the rice paper package definitely helped :-)
The hubby's verdict: Pretty good for our first go. We'll have to give these a try again after we get settled because the spring roll wrappers come in packs of 100, but no arguments here. We had these for dinner, but I imagine that you could even use them as an appetizer if you are looking for a side dish. Enjoy!
Vegetable Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce
Adapted from The Novice Chef Blog
Spring Roll Ingredients:2 oz. dry buckwheat soba noodles (or half a package of ramen noodles)
1/2 c. cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 c. scallions, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, chiffonade or minced
20 mint leaves, chiffonade or minced
1/2 c. grated carrot
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced about 2-inches long
1 firm avocado, halved and pit removed
1 package of spring roll wrappers
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
Cook the noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set the bowl in the refrigerator until the spring rolls are ready.
Toss the first 9 spring roll ingredients together. Find an undamaged sheet of rice paper and hold it under warm water for 10-20 seconds or until the sheet becomes pliable. You will be able to feel it come to "rolling consistency" in your hand, but it may take a couple sheets to figure out how this works best for you.
Place the sheet on a wooden cutting board or a large ceramic plate. Place a couple tablespoons of filling off-center on the rice paper on the end closest to you. Using a spoon, scoop out a 1/4-inch thick wedge of avocado and set it on top of the filling. Fold the ends of the rice paper in towards the center (like a burrito) and roll the paper up lengthwise keeping it as tight as possible. The paper will stiffen a little as it dries, but ours stayed pretty pliable. Cut the spring rolls in half and serve with individual portions of the dipping sauce.
Yield: 15+ spring rolls