Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spring Rolls, Better Late Than Never

So, I did promise to put my spring roll recipe here for you guys. But I was playing in the kitchen, and gave you Tex-Mex instead.

We love Asian food in general, Thai food in particular. I was having a craving for Thai, but the places we have gone in the past were either sliding down on the quality scale, or we couldn't afford the trip to the restaurant. So, armed with a Thai/Vietnamese cookbook, I took another foray into yet another unknown frontier.

Spring Rolls w/ Dipping Sauce

6-inch rice wrappers
shredded carrots and jicama
rice vermicelli
assorted meats for filling

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 - 6 cloves garlic
1/2" to 1" ginger, peeled
2 - 4 T sugar

1. Making dipping sauce early. You can make it the night before if you like. It does get better. Place fish sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. Mince garlic and ginger into sauce. (Or do what I did, put them thru your garlic press!) Add enough sugar to counter the saltiness of the fish sauce. Let the flavors mingle for at least 2 hours before serving

2. Prepare meat. Let me tell you, we had quite the adventure here. We had a week of spring rolls, and they weren't the same any night, just by changing up the meat. Cook and slice 1 chicken breast (yes, for 4 people) or 1 country style beef rib (yes, 4 people again!). Steam or boil shrimp. (I used about 3/4 lb of shrimp boiled in salt water for about 5 minutes. Then I chopped it up finely.) Your imagination is the limit here.

3. Boil about 2 cups of water, and add about 3 ounces of rice vermicelli. No need to be very exact here. Turn off heat. Let the noodles sit for about 10 minutes until soft. Drain. I put them back into the pan tossed with a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking to each other.

4. You need a pan with about 1/2 inch of HOT (110 degree) water. This is to soften those wrappers. Slide the wrapper in, making sure it dunks under the water. It will take 5 to 10 seconds to soften. Remove from water, and place on your working surface. I used a clean cutting board. Put a small amount of your meat, shredded veggies and rice noodle about 1 1/2 inches above the bottom curve of the wrapper. Fold the bottom over the filling, and hold tight. Fold the sides in, and then roll toward the top. Put seam side down on a plate and serve with dipping sauce.

The package of wrappers I got had about 50 rice wrappers in it. That's a LOT of spring rolls, hoss! We made 1 each for the kids, and 2 each for the adults. Served with jasmine rice (THIS is the absolute bomb-diggity, btw), even to Mr. Unstoppable Metabalism, this was plenty of food. These spring rolls aren't HUGE, either. Honestly, we probably ate less in calories, WAY less in fat, and were totally full.


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