Spring has sprung friends! As the weather turns from the chilly winter to crisp spring I start to crave the lighter fare: chicken salads, grilled fish and veggies, Rose and bubbly wines, strawberries and all other fresh spring/summer fruit. A few weeks ago, my mother invited me along to a cooking class from Culinary Events Northwest. The class met at the Lynnwood Albert Lee Appliance store so off we went to learn our “Wraps Around the World”. There were a few different interesting offerings, such as crepes with buckwheat flour and strawberry balsamic drizzle. But my favorite from the class was the Vietnamese Style Spring Rolls.
We love ordering these when we eat out but I had NEVER before thought about trying to make them myself! To celebrate the first day of spring it was time to try my hand at some homemade spring rolls for dinner! The hardest part of this project is the prep! Once you get everything washed, chopped and arranged in an assembly line it’s easy peasy and I had 12 of these bad boys made before I knew it!
The report from mister Byte of life: Success! His only regret for the meal was that he didn’t have a larger stomach. Chef, happy! Even the next morning at breakfast he was talking about how good they were and how excited he was to be hungry later so he could eat more! These little guys are great as appetizers or served with grilled or steamed veggies for dinner. They make great next day lunches or afternoon snacks. I’ve included a few other ingredient ideas below. What are some of your favorite spring roll ingredients or ones you’d like to try! Also, please feel free to post other dipping sauce recipes!
Healthy Chicken Veggie Spring Rolls
These can be vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken!
Yield you’ll have to play around with the ratios of ingredients but this is a general guideline of ratios from my assembly line.
12 8 or 9 inch rice-paper sheets
1 c fresh mint, chopped
1 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 c fresh basil, chopped
1 – 1 1/2 c finely chopped green cabbage
extra full cabbage leaves to separate the spring rolls on your display plate (the rice-paper wrappings will stick to each other)
1 c matchstick-sized cucumber, peeled first
1 c matchstick-sized carrots, peeled first
2 cooked chicken breasts
1 pan, diameter wide enough to soak rice-paper sheets
1 dry dish towel and either a plate or cutting board to turn rice-paper onto
- Prep all herbs and veggies into separate bowls and create your assembly line. Carrots and cucumber first followed by the herbs, then your protein and cabbage at the end. Have a plate ready to place your completed spring rolls on, as well the cabbage to separate the spring rolls as the paper wrappers love to stick to each other. (If you are making ahead and storing, you can also cover with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap, then place directly in fridge)*If you are making the sauce below, prep those veggies after chopping the spring roll ingredients then make the sauce before starting your spring roll assembly line.
- Fill your pan with 2-3 inches room temperature to slightly warm water and place at the beginning of your assembly line with the dry dish towel and cutting board or plate where you will be assembling your spring rolls.
- Soak the first rice-paper wrapper in the water until it looses it’s rigidity, about 30 seconds, but is still slightly firm. You’ll just have to try a few times and sacrifice a few rice-papers to get the hang of seeing and feeling when the rice paper is ready to be rolled. You don’t want it TOO soft or else it will easily tear.
- Once the rice paper is ready to be rolled, move onto the paper towel and place another rice paper in the water. Gently dab off the water from the rice paper, it will still be damp and wet but it shouldn’t be soaked. Gently transfer to the cutting board and fill with your ingredients. Arrange a few carrots and cucumber centered in the top 1/3 of the rice paper closest to you, leaving about 3/4 – 1 inch border on each side for rolling. Place the herbs, protein and cabbage in the roll making sure to not fill TOO large to wrap. Fold the top of the rice paper closest to you over the heap of ingredients as tightly as you can without breaking the rice paper. Delicately fold in each side of the rice-paper burrito style and roll away from you to wrap up the spring roll, making sure to keep the rice-paper as taut/tight to the ingredients as you can. You might need to fold in the sides another time or two as you get to the end of the rolling process. The spring roll will seal itself against the rest of the rice-paper.* be sure to keep an eye on the sauce, stirring every few minutes to mix the ingredients together
- Place on one of the large cabbage leaves on your display plate and repeat step 4 until you’re done making spring rolls.
Other roll ideas:
Marinated Baked Tofu with bean sprouts and sliced red peppers
Sashimi with pickled ginger & wasabi or wasabi dipping sauce
Asian Marinated flank steak with fresh ginger and garlic ginger dipping sauce
Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce
Yield enough for about 6-8 spring rolls
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (or 1 1/2 tsp jarred minced garlic)
1- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 tsp dried ginger)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/3 low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c.rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar works as well)
1/4 c. tsp crushed red pepper flakes ( unless you like it SPICY, stick to this ratio or it might overpower the rolls)
1 tbsp sugar
Combine all ingredients in small pot and cook over low heat until mixture bubbles. Can be stored in airtight container and refrigerated for up to three days after making.