Fresh Spring Rolls
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 8 Spring Rolls
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 3 min
- 8 Rice Paper Wrappers
- ½ package of Thin Rice Noodles
- ½ Avocado
- 2 Radishes
- 1 Mango
- 2 oz Smoked or Pan Seared Salmon
- 2 Cups Cabbage Mix or Mixed Greens
- ½ Head Cilantro
- 4 Mint Sprigs
- Hot Water
- Fill a pot with enough water to cover the rice noodles and bring it to a boil. Place the rice noodles in a heatproof bowl. As soon as the water is boiling, pour it over the rice noodles and soak for three minutes. Check the noodles and soak longer if not cooked all the way, then drain the noodles and toss them with a little oil to keep them from sticking. Chill until ready to use.
- Get all of your ingredients ready and set them in individual bowls or piles.
- Thinly slice the radishes (you should be able to see through the slices).
- Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces.
- Cut the mango into slices.
- Pick the mint leaves off their stems.
- Cut off the stems from the bunch of cilantro (you don’t have to pick individual leaves off, get rid of the bulk of the stem.
- Cut the avocado into slices last, use half of it at a time and leave the pit in the half you’re not using to keep it from browning.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. The water should be comfortable to dip your hand into and the bowl needs to be big enough to submerge a rice paper wrapper without breaking it.
Assemble the Spring Rolls:
- Dip the wrapper into the water for seven seconds then immediately pull it out. The wrapper will still feel firm and not very pliable which is what you want.
- Now when building the roll, you’re mimicking how a chipotle burrito is rolled.
- Lay the wrapper flat on the counter. Make a pile in the middle of the paper leaving plenty of wrapper all around the edges. Layer ingredients starting with the salmon, avocado, radish, or mango, then layer the greens and herbs, and finally the rice noodles.
- At this point, your wrapper should be soft and pliable.
- Take one side of the wrapper and tuck it tightly over the pile in the middle. Squeeze gently to form a nicely shaped roll. The key to a pretty roll is everything being packed tightly inside it.
- Take the ends, one at a time, and pull them towards the middle, then carefully roll the whole thing closed.
- You can cut it in half or leave it whole but I definitely recommend serving it with Peanut Sauce. Enjoy!
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What if my rice paper rips?
- Trust me, it's not as bad as ripping your pants...
No biggie! If it breaks before you soak it, don’t try and make a roll. Just toss it and get a new one. If it's already been soaked and it tears, you can pinch the tear back together as long as it's small. If it's a big tear, just toss it and start again.
What other fruits and veggies would be good in a spring roll?
- The possibilities are endless!
Fresh bell peppers, peach slices, kiwi, bean sprouts, edible flowers, beets, carrots, the list goes on, check your fridge!
What if my dipping water gets cold?
- A little cold water never hurt anyone...
No problem, just soak your rice paper wrapper for a few more seconds or dump it and get fresh.
What if I over soak my rice paper?
- I'm sure your compost pile will take it!
You can try and work with it but if it's too sticky, just throw it out and get a new one.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
I first learned to make spring rolls while watching Sandy Digiovanni teach a Thai class at The Culinary Center of Kansas City. Sandy was my favorite Chef there, I remember watching her in one of her Italian classes hollering loudly to the students about why a sprig of parsley used to be served on dinner plates; “You know why they served parsley? It was a digestive aid because you had just eaten crap!”
This was met with amusement from the class who were already weak from laughing and stuffed so full of Italian food they could hardly double over. The Thai class was no different as Sandy preached on the contemptible act of over-soaking your rice paper, an unfortunate mistake that basically turns your wrapper into a gluey glob that’s almost impossible to work with. But as long as you don’t over soak your rice paper, you really can’t go wrong! You can stuff a spring roll with anything; My favorite combo is pan-seared salmon, fresh herbs, avocado or mango and cabbage.
But you could stuff it with last night's leftover salad, shrimp, radishes, anything your heart might desire. If it would go together on a salad or over rice, it will be good in a spring roll. And if you want to make it fancy like the photo of mine, just pick some colorful ingredients and lay them on the rice paper first. Then put a contrasting color behind them, like yellow mango, then green cabbage. Have fun!
P.S If you ever get the chance to take one of Sandy Digiovanni’s classes, you’re in for a real treat. You can find the classes listed here: https://www.kcculinary.com/cooking-classes/