In trying to be healthier, I wanted to eat clean while trying other types of ethnic cooking (thus making lentils a few weeks ago.)
So, this week, I thought I would try making one of my Thai favorites: Fresh Spring Rolls with tofu and shrimp, complete with Soy Ginger dipping sauce. Really not too hard to do, it just takes patience and finess when dealing with the sticky rice paper wrappers. Safeway surprisingly had everything I was looking for, but most of these ingredients can be found at your local Asian market or online.
Thai Fresh Spring Rolls:
- 5 ounces thin rice stick noodles
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 1/2 pound unpeeled small shrimp, cleaned and cooked
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 large cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup fresh mint
- 3/4 cup fresh basil
- 12 (8 1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers
Note: If you like your rolls spicier, you can also add some chili paste to the inside of the wrapper. These rolls are pretty forgiving so if you want to add any other veggies like lettuce, sliced peppers, or sliced mushrooms, feel free. DO NOT overstuff your rolls; the paper is a fragile creature and can easily rip if the stuffing is too intense. This recipe was adapted and modified from Alton Brown’s recipe for spring rolls, but feel free to add your own spin on it as well.
Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Soak the rice sticks in enough hot water to cover by 1 inch for 10 – 15 minutes, until soft and pliable but not overly mushy.
Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil in a large pot set over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add the shrimp and cook until just firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp to a cutting board and cool for 3 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel, devein, and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Return the water-soy sauce to a boil. Drain the rice stick noodles and add to the hot soy-water. Cook until tender, approximately 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the lime juice, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, chili paste, and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl.
Drain the noodles in a colander. Add the noodles to the lime juice mixture, toss, and set aside while preparing the vegetables.
Toss the cucumber, carrot, cilantro, and mint together in a small bowl.
Fill a pie dish with warm water. Dip 1 rice paper wrapper into the water for 10 seconds, then transfer to a cutting board until the wrapper is pliable and slightly tacky, approximately 1 minute. Best to do it one at a time, to make sure that the wrappers don’t stick to each other.
Place 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture on the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper nearest to you. Spoon 2 tablespoons chopped shrimp on top of the vegetables. Top with 1/4 cup noodles. Bring the bottom edge of the wrap tightly over the filling, and then fold in the 2 sides. Finish rolling from bottom to top until the entire wrapper is rolled. Be careful not to tear the rice paper. Place on a parchment-lined half sheet pan and cover with a damp tea towel. Repeat with the remaining wrappers until the filling is gone. Serve with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce or your favorite Peanut Sauce.
Don’t get me wrong: the first few rolls were definitely not pretty. Once you get the rhythm down, your rolls should start to look more like the rolls you see at your local Thai restaurant. Work in progress but I think for the first time making them from scratch, it was definitely a win!
Thanks and happy eats,