When the sun starts to shine and the weather warms up, the warm hearty dishes of winter get pushed to the back of my brain and I start to crave light, cool, fresh dishes. Meals that highlight veggies that are in season and don’t require me to stir a big pot over a hot stove for hours are right up my alley.
This is another super flexible recipe. You may add whatever veggies you like, change up the protein, or make them vegetarian.
It is important to have all of the components of the spring rolls ready before you assemble. J and I tend to set everything out on the table in an assembly line, make one fresh roll and eat it immediately. We make and eat as we go. You could try and assemble them all first and then eat them. If you are successful with this, I applaud you.
A tightly wrapped fresh roll is key. Use the first few to get the hang of the assembly and wrapping. By the third, you will be a pro.
I find a shallow dish works best for rehydrating the rice paper.
If using shrimp, put those down first with some of the herbs. They will show through the wrapping for a good lookin’ fresh roll.
Top shrimp or whatever protein you are using with cellophane noodles and veggies.
First pull the bottom of the rice paper over your fillings.
Then fold in the right and left sides towards the center.
Roll the rest of the way. Taa-daa!! You are finished!
After you bite into the end, you can pour the sauce into the fresh roll to avoid the filling falling out when you try and dip it in the bowl upside down.
Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
1 package rice paper wrappers
1/2 package cellophane noodles (also called bean thread noodles, vermicelli noodles)
protein of choice, examples:
veggies cut into matchsticks (long and thin), examples:
2 green onions, green part thinly sliced
basil, cilantro, mint leaves
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon garlic chili paste or Sriracha (optional)
Mix all ingredients for dipping sauce and set aside. If not using the garlic chili paste or Sriracha, I would reduce the maple syrup to 1/2 teaspoon.
Cook cellophane noodles according to package directions. I usually boil some water, pour over noodles, swish them around so they are all covered in the water, let sit until desired consistency, then rinse off with cold water so they don’t get too mushy. Set noodles aside.
If you need to cook your protein, do this now. I find I only use chicken in my fresh rolls when I have leftovers. Shrimp on the other hand take only a few minutes to cook.
Prepare your veggies by cutting them into thin matchsticks, cut avocado into thin slices, cut up your green onion and get your basil, cilantro, and/or mint ready.
When all ingredients are ready, fill a shallow bowl or serving dish with room temp water. Submerge one sheet of rice paper in the water. Remove once sheet is pliable (15-30 seconds depending on temp of water).
Lay rice paper on a plate or cutting board. If using shrimp put the shrimp down first, pink side out (they will show through the wrapping when rolled and look so pretty). If not, place lettuce down first as a protective mat for all other ingredients. Layer on noodles, protein, veggies and herbs.
To fold fresh rolls, use the same technique you would use for wrapping up a burrito. Fold up bottom of rice paper to cover the filling. Then bring in the right and left sides in towards the center. Finish by rolling fresh roll away from you. Since the rice paper is sticky, it should adhere to itself so it won’t unravel. You want to roll them pretty tightly without tearing the rice paper.
Dip in sauce and enjoy!