I attended a food photography workshop this past weekend and we ended the 2 days of intensive learning with a spring roll party. These are perfect for a large group. They are really fun to make and kids love them too. Since everyone builds their own, different dietary lifestyles are easily accommodated. If you are the host, it’s an easy way to throw a dinner party and not have to do much cooking!
Now that I know how simple these are to make, I am almost embarrassed about how much I used to pay for them at the health food store! I had actually attempted to make these before, but I made one big mistake. I soaked the rice paper too long and I ended up with a soggy messy.
Here are the few tips I learned that made making Vietanamese Spring Rolls a cinch!
- Don’t wet the rice paper too much. Dip each sheet of rice paper in the water until every part of it is wet, but don’t leave it in the water to soak.
- Start adding ingredients to the top 1/3 (the part closest to you) of the paper. This way, you have plenty of paper left to roll.
- Lay lettuce down first. This will prevent any of the crunchier fillings from tearing your paper.
- Don’t overfill the spring rolls.
- Fold the rice paper in half. Unlike the other tips, this one is optional. You can roll the spring roll like a burrito, by folding in the right and left side and then rolling tightly. The technique I prefer, is to actually fold your rice paper in half, after you’ve wet it. Fill it up with your ingredients and then roll it tightly, while leaving the ends open.
- Mix and match. As long as you are using your lettuce barrier, you can mix and match your veggies, herbs and proteins. Include some crunchy veggies like cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers. You can use any protein that you have on hand. Most fresh herbs are delightful.
These rolls are delicious with my Paleo Satay Sauce. If you don’t have time to make the sauce, you can serve them with coconut aminos or tamari!
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Serves 3 to 4
- 1 pound shrimp, cooked
- lettuce leaves
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- Fresh mint leaves
- 12 sheets of rice paper
- Paleo Satay Sauce for dipping (recipe below)
- Dip each sheet of rice paper in the water until every part of it is wet, shake off any excess water.
- Lay the rice paper on a large plate. Either leave it open or fold it in half, to use the fold in half technique mentioned in the tips above.
- Lay down a piece of lettuce on the 1/3 of the rice paper closest to you. Top it with the bell peppers, cucumbers, shrimp and fresh mint. Take care to not over stuff the spring rolls.
- Roll the spring rolls once and then fold in the right and left sides. Proceed to roll the spring roll away from you, while packing the ingredients tightly.
Better than Peanut Sauce: Paleo Almond Satay Sauce
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- juice of 1 tangerine
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 small spicy pepper, chopped (I use jalapenos, but serrano or another spicy pepper would work)
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon Paleo-friendly fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 hot filtered water (if needed to thin the sauce)
- Place almond butter, tangerine juice, lime juice, pepper, coconut aminos, fish sauce and ginger in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add water and mix some more. If it is too thick for your liking, you can thin it out with more water. I find this thickness to work great as a dipping sauce and for a stir-fry sauce.
- You can eat it immediately, but I have found that if you let it sit for a few hours to overnight, the flavors improve. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
For recipes and practical instructions for eating this way (also known as “Paleo” eating), I highly recommend the PaleoGrubs Cookbook.
It’s the simplest way to get started, and it includes every kind of recipe you’ll ever need (more than 470 of them!).
As always, ENJOY!