So all of you have your dipping sauces ready right ? Good. Last week, I was going through those Thai cookbooks, I browsed through the appetizers & snacks section too. There were a variety of offerings, from steamed dumplings and lettuce rolls to deep fried spring rolls and even samosa's, inspired by the Indian snack. Thai spring rolls are filled with noodles, veggies, shrimp/meat and rolled in rice wrappers and deep fried. The moment I saw the title spring roll, for some reason fresh spring rolls came to my mind. I know, there must be something wrong with the wiring in my brain! And no matter how many times I saw the word ' deep fried' in the end of the recipe, my mind had decided it was going to be fresh rolls. So I used similar ingredients for the fillings and made these fresh rolls that seem to perfectly compliment the spring time that's blossoming around me. And to my credit, an online search did result in some hits for 'fresh Thai spring rolls' ;)
Before we get started with the rolls though, I made a quick sauce to drizzle over the rolls. Its a very simple citrusy sauce that perks up your taste buds and is very refreshing with the spring rolls. I meant to make this post earlier, but I could not find the source for this recipe :( I jotted down the recipe in my book, but did not note down where I got it from :( I will continue looking for it and update this post once I track it down, promise!
For the dipping sauce, mix together -Fresh spring rolls are part of Vietnamese cuisine. They need almost no cooking and can be the perfect platform to showcase fresh vegetables. You can serve them as an appetizer/snack, but with a combination of vegetables & protein they can easily stand on their own for a light meal. The cellophane noodles used in this recipe have the shortest ingredient list - mung bean starch and water. They are also called glass noodles or bean thread noodles. You should be able to find them in the Asian foods section in the grocery store. They need to be soaked in warm water to soften up, same is the case with the rice roll wrappers, no other cooking involved.
- 1 nos - Thai bird chili, minced
- 1/4 tsp - Salt
- 1/2 tsp - Jaggery/ Palm sugar
- 1/4 cup - Orange juice
- 1/4 cup - Lime juice
- 1 Tbsp - Peanuts, dry roasted & skinned
The choice of filling for these spring rolls is limited only by your imagination. You can include veggies, a protein, herbs, seasonings/dressings. I used carrots, savoy cabbage, red & purple radishes and asparagus. Other options could be mung bean sprouts, cucumber, blanched broccoli, avocado, lettuce, spinach or any other greens of your choice.
I am sure you will mess up the first wrapper while soaking it ( a few more for me :-P) but, once you get the hang of it, nothing can be easier. For a wrapper that thin, they are pretty sturdy and can be easily filled and rolled. Its so much fun to play around with flavors and fillings for these rolls. I can surely say you will make them often after the first time, there is no real recipe here, so you cannot really dislike it! Keep experimenting till you find the one you like, and then... move on to the next combination :) The citrusy dipping sauce brightens the flavor of the veggies. The slight heat from the grilled salsa, crunch from the veggies and peanuts, and protein from the tofu and noodles make these a complete package. Oh, and did I mention its healthy ?!Fresh Spring rollsIngredients
Filling: the quantities for each are dictated by how much of it you like in the spring roll.
- Rice roll wrappers
- Extra firm tofu - cut into matchsticks
- Cellophane noodles - soaked in warm water for 8-10mins
- Carrots, cut into match sticks
- Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced/shredded
- Red/purple radishes, sliced thinly
- Cilantro/mint, chives/scallions & Basil leaves
- Peanuts, dry roasted and skinned
- Salt and pepper to taste
- dipping sauce
- Grease a baking sheet with some oil, and coat the tofu matchsticks with the same. Broil on 'low' for 5-7mins until the outer layer starts to blister and has brown spots. If using asparagus, bring some water to a boil, salt it and blanch the asparagus for 1-2mins. Prep the rest of your veggies and have them ready to go, the dipping sauces too.
- Fill a shallow vessel, wide enough to hold the rice roll wrappers, with some warm water. You will be dipping your hands in it, so don't make it too hot :-) I work on one roll at a time. Soak the wrapper in water, depending on how warm the water is and the thickness of the wrapper it might take 30sec to 1min to soften and become flexible. A little longer and they will turn to a mush.
- Place it on your work surface, layer the filling, horizontally, on the bottom 1/3 rd portion of the circular wrapper, leaving just enough wrapper area to fold it over the filling. Don't overdo the filling, use a couple of pieces of each and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Top with fresh herbs, peanuts and dipping sauce. I alternated between the grilled salsa, peanut sauce and the one above. Fold the bottom part of the wrapper over the filling, roll it once, and fold over the left & right portions of the wrapper onto it. Holding the filling tightly together, roll it till you reach the end of the wrapper. Try to remove as much air as possible while rolling, it makes it easier to eat.
- Repeat the steps to make as many rolls as needed and line them up with a little room between each other so they don't end up sticking to each other.
P.S: Puthandu nalvazhthukkal to all the Tamilians reading this, Happy Vishu, and Happy New year to everyone else welcoming a new year today :-) Have a wonderful day all!