This is one of my favorite recipes for later spring and throughout the summer. Spring rolls are great because you can incorporate all sorts of colorful and healthy veggies and they’re really fun to make with others. I like mine vegetarian, but you can incorporate sustainable shrimp, sashimi, slivers of last night’s leftover free-range steak, or even bacon if you want. I encourage you to get creative and tell me about your discoveries. It might take you a few tries to roll them just right, but even if they don’t look perfect they always taste good!
1. If you would like seaweed as an option I recommend wakame or sea palm. (Make sure it’s organic and doesn’t come from Japan. Generally local is best, but because of radiation concerns the safest seaweed may come from the east coast in the U.S.) Crumble the dried seaweed into pieces about the size of a quarter or silver dollar and immerse in water for softening.
2. Prepare a variety of organic vegetables, cut lengthwise where appropriate, and set into individual bowls or piles. Good options include:
- Lettuce Leaves
- Red Cabbage
Also have some fresh herbs available. My favorites are:
- Thai Basil
2. While you’re chopping bring some water to boil. Once its bubbling rapidly turn off the heat and immerse rice or bean vermicelli until soft. Follow the directions on the packet, but this should take about 10 minutes. When the noodles are ready strain the water out and place them in a bowl.
3. You’re now ready to start rolling! Fill a large, preferably round, deep dish with warm water. A pie pan might be a good option. Soak your first rice or tapioca wrapper in the water until soft and then gently remove and place on your working surface. Place about two tablespoons/a very small handful of the noodles on the wrapper and add the same amount of whatever veggies and herbs you want. (For example, you may want a piece of carrot, about 6 sprouts, a piece of cucumber, some wakame, a slice of avocado, and some basil).If you’re preparing these for others you can make them all the same or all entirely different. If you’re with others everyone can make their own, or you can compile them for a nice variety.
When you are happy with the fillings you have laid on the wrapper the adventure really begins. With the veggies lined up vertically in front of you, fold the bottom portion of the wrapper over. then fold over the left side and secure your grip tightly but gently over the whole thing and roll it over. Then just fold the top bit into place. This process takes practice for most people, but have fun with it and in time you’ll be a pro.
You have many options for dipping sauce and I encourage you to make at least two for your spring rolls.
Peanut Ginger Sauce:
In a small bowl mix together about a two inches of ginger, finely-chopped, 6 cloves of finely-chopped garlic, 3/4 cup of homemade peanut butter, a tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, a tablespoon of sesame seeds, and a small drop of raw honey and/or toasted sesame oil. I like to play with proportions, and I encourage you to find the ones that taste best to you.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce:
This one is especially good for very hot and stifling summer days. In a small bowl mix 4 cloves of finely-chopped garlic, one or two crushed chili peppers, 1/2 a squeezed lime, one tablespoon of raw honey, one teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/8 cup of water.