I love taking spring rolls to potlucks or serving them at gallery receptions. They are as healthy as the ingredients you roll up inside the rice paper wrappers. They require no cooking (unless you opt for vegetarian rolls with steamed spinach — or my favorite — shredded chicken breast marinated in a soy-sesame-ginger dressing.) Anyway, I for this batch, used pre-cooked crab so they were super easy to make.
They’re also unusual at potlucks, so likely to be a big hit. And if there are any leftovers, they’re great for lunch the next day if you wrap them tightly so they don’t dry out.
Get all of your ingredients ready before you start rolling these. Once you get the hang of rolling them tightly, assembly goes quickly. There are different ways to roll spring rolls: two open ends, one open end (as in the photo at top) and closed ends (as in a burrito.) See the notes at the bottom of this post for some links that show how to roll spring rolls.
HEALTHY SPRING ROLLS
- Rice Paper Wrappers
- Cucumber, peeled and cut into long pieces (I cut the cuke in half crosswise, then seed it, then slice about 1/8 inch thick slices
- Cooked Crab, Shrimp or Chicken Breast (for chicken breast instructions, see below this recipe)
- Leaf Lettuce, washed and spun dry in salad spinner
- Fresh Cilantro
- Fresh Basil
- Green Onions (I use just the green part in the rolls, reserving the white ends for my dipping sauce)
- Thin Rice Noodles, cooked according to directions, then marinated for about 10 minutes in a soy-mirin dressing, and drained til dry. Cut the noodles into small pieces
- Prepare all of your spring roll fillings ahead of time and set on kitchen counter on plates
- Fill a large flat container with warm water. This is used to soften your rice paper wrappers, so the container needs to be large enough to accomodate the size wrappers you have. I used 12 inch diameter wrappers, and a 12″ stainless frying pan for my water
- Dip each wrapper in the warm water for just a couple of seconds, hold over the water to drain excess water off of the wrapper, then lay it on the counter. (I do two wrappers at a time)
- Assemble the fillings in the middle of the top half of the wrapper. I put down the meat and cilantro first because whatever is on the bottom of your pile of filling is what will show on the outside of the wrapper and I think that makes it look pretty.
- Put down one piece of crab or a couple of shrimp, a green onion, a couple sprigs of cilantro, some basil leaves, a slice of cucumber, a dab of rice noodles then a large lettuce leaf, torn in smaller pieces.
- Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up over the top half, then work from one side and tuck/roll tightly until you have a nice tight roll. The lettuce and green onion can stick out of the top of the roll.
- Repeat until you have rolled all your wrappers.
- If you have trouble with the wrappers not rolling you may not be waiting long enough for the wrapper to soften before trying to roll it.
- If you have trouble with the wrappers tearing when you roll them, you may be putting too much water, or waiting too long and they get too soft, thus tearing. Experiment until it comes easily, because if you do this process enough it’s something you can do in your sleep.
- Cover the spring rolls with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Serve soon after you make them.
- Make the dipping sauce. enjoy!
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 T coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 T sugar (or to taste – some like it sweeter)
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
Combine all ingredients and let sit for a few minutes. Serve in small bowls or tiny plates.
NOTES AND LINKS
- This is the best photo tutorial I’ve found for rolling burrito-style, closed-end spring rolls
- Lovely collection of spring roll recipe ideas … you really can put just about any filling in a spring roll. I’m intrigued by the bacon and grilled asparagus spring rolls. That’s next on my list!
- Diane Cu’s entertaining post on how her food blogging made her gain weight and spring rolls helped her slim down
- Diane’s recipe for pork and shrimp spring rolls with photos showing how to roll her two-open-end rolls
My young friend, Meria was about 3 years old when I recorded her instructions for baking cookies. That was a couple of years ago.
She had just finished helping her mom make chocolate chip cookies and I asked her to tell me the recipe so I could record it. She was exuburant in the telling, to say the least. I love listening to her on this recording (translated below.) The other voices on the recording are mine and my friends voices, Brenda’s and Tiffany’s (Meria’s mom.)
If you have trouble getting the recording to play, try clicking the volume button on the right a couple of times. Also wait a second after clicking the start arrow — it takes a sec to load.
Ready set go! First you roll roll roll. And you smash smash smash. The cookies are circles. And we make little pieces squish apart.
Fat cookies for big kids and fat cookies for big people. You don’t put m&ms, you put chocolate chips on them.
(Meria kept getting distracted by the needle on the recording device …)
After you make the cookies into circles, you make make make make, then put them in the oven. After they are in the oven you eat them!
(Bit of a discussion about sharing …) Let’s just share. Once I cook them, then I’ll share. I don’t share to boys. I share to girls. I’ll share with Mr. T (one of her favorite adult guys) I’m going to share with Mr. T! I’ll share with Gretchen, and you (Brenda) and you (Maureen) and mom and the new baby.
That’s how you make my cookies! — Meria
I made the cookies pictured above last week and offered them to gallery visitors over the weekend. They disappeared pretty quickly. My recipe is a slight variation on the traditional Toll House chocolate chip cookies. I add twice as many nuts (pecans) as called for in the recipe, decrease the sugar by 1/2 cup, triple the vanilla, add organic coconut flavoring and I use chunks of Extra Dark Shaman Organic Chocolate instead of chocolate chips. These are so scrummy.
Old World Butternut Squash Soup is a delightful medley of orange veggies and sweet/savory flavors. Super healthy for you. Make this soup vegetarian — or not. Either way it’s delicious on a blustery winter day with some hot-out-of-the-oven whole grain bread or a scone and a leafy green salad.
A perfect winter meal:
Old World Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 fat carrots, diced
- 6 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 Italian sausages
- 2 to 3 boxes organic chicken or vegetable broth (I use the 32 oz. boxes)
- 1 rutabaga, diced small
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded
- 2# butternut squash peeled & cubed
- 1 or 2 large tart apples, cut into chunks (leave the peel on)
- Salt, pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1T Herbs de Provence
- 1 t. thyme leaves
- 1 t. rosemary leaves
- Cut/Chop/Dice all the veggies so everything is ready to cook
- Remove sausage meat from casings and cook in a frying pan until done, crumbling it as it cooks. Set aside
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic
- Add the cooked sausage, broth, carrots, rutabaga, cabbage, squash, apple and herbs
- Add a little salt to taste and adjust the amount of broth to your liking
- Simmer for two hours or so, until everything is very tender or cook in slow cooker for 4 hours.
- Adjust the salt to your liking and add lots of fresh ground black pepper
- Enjoy with a healthy green salad and maybe a scone or slice of whole grain bread