Friday, July 1, 2011

Spring or Summer?

Spring roll or summer roll?  I've seen both names used for the Vietnamese rice paper-wrapped rolls that are sometimes fried and sometimes not.  Sweet dipping sauce or peanut-y?  Stuffed with meat?  Shrimp?  Rice noodles?

Lots of options for this one.

We wanted to use shrimp, and as luck would have it Whole Foods had just gotten in some beautiful fresh shrimp.  We said "yes" to peanut dipping sauce and "no" to frying and rice noodles on the inside.  A few veggies, some fresh herbs, and that was it.

Very healthy.  Very refreshing.

I'm calling them spring rolls.  You can call them whatever you like, as long as you call me to come eat some when you make them.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
These are a lot easier to make than I expected.  Once softened in warm water, the rice paper is pliable yet sturdy.  Although it does get a bit sticky; wetting your fingers while you roll will help with that.

A light, refreshing dish meets a light, refreshing wine: the 2010 Riesling from Chateau Montelena.

Its crisp acidity complemented the spring rolls perfectly.  And the glass I had before rolling them seemed to make everything go smooooothly. 

So open your bottle before rolling and have some fun.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
The spring rolls are based on a recipe from a recipe in the April 2004 issue of Cooking Light and the dipping sauce is based on one from allrecipes.

Spring Rolls:
12 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
3 green leaf lettuce leaves, quartered
3 cups fresh broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts
36 (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot strips
36 (2-inch) julienne-cut cucumber strips
36 (2-inch) julienne-cut yellow bell pepper strips
24 medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, and halved lengthwise
36 fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare spring rolls, fill large bowl with warm water. Place 1 rice paper sheet in bowl; let stand 5 seconds or just until soft. Place rice paper sheet on a flat surface (we used a dinner plate). Fill roll by layering all ingredients; we started with 4 shrimp halves on bottom so they would be visible through the wrapper once rolled.  Fold sides of sheet over filling; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Gently press seam to seal. Place spring roll, seam side down, on a serving platter (cover with a damp paper towel to prevent drying).  Repeat procedure with remaining rice paper, lettuce, sprouts, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, shrimp, mint, and cilantro.

Cut each roll in half on the diagonal.  Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light coconut milk
3 tablespoons water (more if needed to achieve desired consistency)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  If the sauce is thicker than you like, add water to thin.  Chill until serving.

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