Spring rolls. I freaking LOVE them! I’ve been eating spring rolls like it’s my job lately, so I decided to quit my take-out habit and make them at home. Since I had never made spring rolls nor did I reaaaally know what they are made out of, they seemed very enigmatic to me. How does the roll come to be? Why are they sodamndelicious? I did some googling and a great deal of store-walking, but after gathering my ingredients and watching a couple of youtube videos, whipping out the enigma rolls was a cinch. Mystery: solved. Hunger: satisfied. Spring roll OD: affirmative.
When I make a dish with new-to-me ingredients, I typically do a lot of nervous pacing, chin-stroking, and 9 times out of 10, I must whip out a dance-athon prior to going to the store in order to shake out my doubts and do-I-really-want-to-do-this-sss. But it always ends up well worth it because both the process and the end result are outstanding. While it took me a hot minute to figure out what to put in the ol’ shopping buggy to make this Spring-a-ling-a-roll happen, my nervous pacing, chin-stroking, and flash mob dancing worked. Below are your must-haves for this recipe, and all of these items I picked up from the “ethnic” section of my local grocery store.
- Spring roll wrappers: are made out of tapioca starch and rice starch. They come dry in the shape of a circle with small patterns on them. In order to soften them, you dunk them quickly in hot water.
- Chili Garlic Sauce: One of my must-haves for ethnic cooking! I use it for stir fry, and all sorts of Asian sauces. It adds a great deal of flavor and a little kick. I used it in the peanut sauce for this recipe.
- Coconut milk: You’re probably already very familiar with this one, but I figured I’d show you the exact coconut milk I use each and every time I make something that calls for it. I always like the full-fat kind as opposed to the lite. This also went into the peanut sauce. Mmmm!
- Vermicilli noodles: These strange little guys come dehydrated and are made out of beans or rice. You cook them the same way you would pasta. These are the funky fresh noodles you find inside your spring rolls.
The only tricky part about making the spring rolls was hydrating the dehydrated rice wrappers. You need to dunk the wrappers in hot water, but they rehydrate very quickly, so you pretty much skinny dip them. In, out. Bang boom. For this process, I heated water in a wide-mouth shallow saucepan on the stove until boiling, then allowed it to cool enough to be able to touch the water.
I took one wrapper at a time and quickly wet the whole circular edge. I then lay the wrapper flat on the surface of the hot water for a split second so that the middle could rehydrate too, and I could still lift it out without it collapsing (the wrappers will collapse or fold over on themselves if you leave them in water for too long). I then lay the wrapper on a piece of parchment paper sitting on a cutting board and from there, I stuffed it with the fillings and wrapped it up.
That’s it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But let’s be honest: while spring rolls are great and everything, they’re really just a caravan for peanut sauce. Which is the holy mother of all sauces in my peanut loving experience. The Dr. Jack Shephard of sauces. These boots are made for walking, so let’s slather them in peanut sauce. I…think you get my point.
How to Make Homemade Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
For the Spring Rolls:
- 10 Spring roll rice wrappers
- 3 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
- ¼ lb . steamed shrimp sliced in half length-wise, cooked
- 10 leaves Thai Basil
- 1 large carrots peeled and shredded
For the Peanut Sauce:
- Asian cabbage shredded
- Bean sprouts
To prepare the sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until well-combined. Set aside until ready to use.
To Prepare the spring rolls:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then remove it from the burner. Add the vermicelli rice noodles and allow them to sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the noodles, put them in a bowl, and refrigerate until cool.
Slice the shrimp down the center lengthwise and cut in half so that they lay flat in the spring rolls instead of puffing out.
Add hot water to a wide-mouth saucepan or large bowl. Lay one spring roll skin (wrapper) flat on the hot water just until wet. Place it on a flat surface (such as a plate or piece of parchment paper) and lay two to three shrimp slices on the skin, followed by desired amount of vermicelli noodles, one basil leaf (or cilantro or mint), shredded carrot, and any other add-ins you fancy. Wrap the stuffing just as you would a burrito, making sure to wrap tightly.
Serve with peanut sauce!