Vietnamese Style Spring Rolls

There is nothing I like better than making and eating fresh spring rolls.  They are tasty, they are healthy, they have delightful textures AND they are portable.  But what I really, really, absolutely LOVE (as in a twirl my dress and spin around kind of giddiness-love) is the peanut dipping sauce.  I could eat it by the bucketful.  To tell you the truth, the spring rolls for me are sort of a Peanut Sauce delivery system. I have been known to eat the peanut sauce on ice cream (try it, you will love it, I promise), with apples and pears, even bananas.  Sometimes, if I think nobody is watching, I will lick my plate of any residual peanut sauce (don’t judge me).  It is my “green eggs and ham”

Let’s start with the recipe for the sauce:

peanut sauce
Mix in ingredients into the oil and garlic/ginger saute.

 

 

Peanut Dipping Sauce

1 tbsp canola oil

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

½ inch piece of ginger grated

OR just one tablespoon of ginger garlic paste you’ve blended together

5 tbsp water or chicken broth—may add more as needed

5 tbsp hoisin sauce

½ cup peanut butter

1 tbsp Sirarcha sauce or Sambal Oelek

1 tbsp Palm sugar or brown sugar (Palm sugar adds a wonderful depth of flavor that is not to be missed)

Heat oil in a small pan and add the garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant. Add in the hoisin sauce and water or broth and stir for a minute or two. Next add the peanut butter, Sriarcha or Sambal Oelek and Palm sugar and stir until well blended and sugar dissolves. Add additional water if needed. Sauce should be smooth but thick. Take off heat and top with additional crushed peanuts and diced Thai chili if desired or more Sambal Oelek.

To make this sauce Vegan or soy free:

1 Tbsp canola oil

2 cloves garlic

¼ inch piece of ginger grated

5 tbsp vegetable broth or stock

½ tsp salt

½ cup peanut butter

2 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tbsp Sriarcha sauce or Sambal Oelek

1 Tbsp Palm Sugar

3– 4 tbsp of water

Heat oil in a small pan and add the garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant. Add in all the remaining ingredients except for the water. Stir until well blended and heated through. Add the water (more or less depending on consistency). Sauce should be slightly thick and smooth. Top with additional crushed peanuts and diced Thai Chillis if desired.

rice paper
Choose the size of rice paper you like (bigger is easier to work with)

 

Rice paper
Dip the rice paper into warm tap water and turn to get it wet
Glass noodles
soak the rice stick noodles in water to soften (10 minutes)
Veggies
Get all veggies ready to begin rolling

 

 

Shrimp
Slice shrimp into halves (they nestle nicely in the roll)

 

 

 

spring rolls
Place veggies 1/3 of the way into paper and tuck in

 

 

Vietnamese Spring roll
Tuck in the edges before the next revolution

 

Spring roll
Place shrimp cut side up and tucked along the edges

 

vietnamese spring rolls
The shrimp shows through the paper
spring rolls and sauce
Enjoy with the peanut sauce

 

spring rolls and sauce
Peanut sauce delivery system

 

Vietnamese spring roll

Spring Rolls

Rice spring roll paper (12 sheets)

Warm tap water (several cups in a bowl to soften rice paper)

Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

Cabbage, shredded

1/3 package of thin rice vermicelli noodles, cooked

cucumbers, thinly sliced horizontally

1 Shredded carrot

1 cup bean sprouts

twelve pieces of long chives

handful of Cilantro

handful of fresh mint (peppermint variety – found in Asian markets)

Cooked shrimp, deveined and sliced in half

Or you can use Chinese style BBQ pork (Char Shu)

Or chicken

Or use only vegetables without any proteins

 

Thoroughly wash all the vegetables and prepare them as listed above. Soak the rice vermicelli noodles for 6 to 10 minutes in hot water then rinse them under cool tap water. I buy the pre cooked shrimp that’s already deveined and cleaned and then slice them in half (usually at Costco). I also buy all my produce at the Asian Market because they are a LOT cheaper.

There are a million brands of rice paper. Choose the cheapest one. They are pretty much the same.

Dip the paper in warm water, turning it in a circle as you dip and gently press in the middle to get the whole paper wet. Avoid sticking the whole paper in a bowl and letting it float around. It just needs to get wet – not soaking wet. Gently shake off excess water and place the sheet on a cutting board or plate in front of you. On the top third of the paper closest to you, place a small bundle of romaine lettuce and cabbage, next put the vermicelli noodles on top followed by the carrots, sprouts, cucumber, a few leaves of mint, one frond of chives and two small leaves of cilantro. Fold the paper closest to you over the vegetables and tuck tightly under. Once you’ve rolled one revolution, tuck the left and right side into the roll. There should be some paper still left in the front, place the shrimp cut side facing up (like inverted “u”) next to the roll and finish rolling up the spring roll. You should be able to see the Shrimp from the outside . Serve with peanut dipping sauce. Serve at room temperature. Avoid making ahead and refrigerating since the rice paper dries out or gets too soggy. If you must take it somewhere to eat/serve it, wrap each roll in plastic wrap so they do not stick to each other and serve within 2-3 hours.

 

Cilantro Chutney

This is a fantastic sauce to have in your fridge.  You can put it on so many things.  It’s great with Spinach Pakoras, with eggs, as a veggie dip or even as a dressing.   It takes about 3 minutes to put together.  I really enjoyed it with the Tapioca and Potato Boras I made for The Great Leftover Challenge sponsored by Danny’s kitchen, a great blog that I enjoy reading.

All the ingredients that needs to be added to the Cilantro
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth
Cilantro Chutney

Here’s the recipe:

Cilantro Chutney

1 bunch cilantro (with the stems cut off)

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water

1 1/2 tsp oil

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 or 2 jalapeno chilies

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsps sugar

Rough chop the cilantro and ginger.  Place everything in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately or can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Kumquat Orange Ginger Marmalade ~ I feel like the brown Martha Stewart

I’m usually so busy most of the time that I try to find my fun in whatever I’m doing.  I went on a recent shopping trip with my friend Kristin to a store that most people avoid.  It’s a local store that sells an unlikely variety of things.  You can find Ann Taylor dresses right next to a box of Avocados.  During our shopping spree, I bought Sterling Silver Celtic crosses, a Krups coffee grinder, a pair of cute summer wedge sandals and Kumquats.  Yes, a bunch of Kumquats.  If you’ve never tried Kumquats, they are like tiny oranges except you can eat the skin and everything.  They pack in a lot of flavor and can be used in sauces, chutneys, cakes, compotes…..

I decided to make some marmalade.  When you use oranges or other citrus to make jams or marmalade no additional pectin is needed.  There is natural pectin in citrus that makes it set up.  There are only four ingredients in this marmalade.  I thought I’d add some zing to the kumquat and orange mixture by adding some candied ginger I’d made last month.  It added a depth of flavor that was delicious! There is something about home canning that makes me feel like the brown version of Martha Stewart.  It must be the mason jars!

The cast of characters: Kumquats and Oranges
Some crystallized ginger
Process the kumquats, oranges and ginger in a food processor
Add sugar and bring mixture to a boil
Cook until fruit is tender and mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 20 minutes)
Process for 10 minutes in a water bath to seal
Yields 12 pints
It turned out delicious. The ginger adds a little zing!

Here’s the recipe:

Kumquat Orange Ginger Marmalade

30 or so Kumquats

2 large Oranges

1/4 cup candied ginger (or you can use a 2″ piece of fresh ginger chopped up)

9 cups of sugar

Wash all the fruit.  Cut the Kumquats in half and take out the seeds.  Cut up the oranges and take out the seeds.  Rough chop the ginger.  Place everything in the food processor (skin and all) and process for a few minutes until you see small chunks.  I like to keep small enough pieces that it won’t annoy me later when I put it on my toast, some people like really big pieces. It’s up to you.  Measure the fruit before you put it in a large pan.  The rule of thumb is that you need approximately 1 1/2 times the amount of sugar to fruit ratio for everything to set up properly.  I came up with 4 cups of fruit so I went with 9 cups of sugar.  (a true 1 1/2 x would be 10 cups, but I held back a bit).  Cook fruit and sugar until it comes to a boil and then turn the heat to low and let the fruit simmer, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick and overflow.  It should take about 20 minutes for the mixture to cook and become tender and for the liquid to coat the back of the spoon you’re using.  Sterilize some mason jars.  Pour hot mixture into each jar leaving a 1/4 inch clearance.  Make sure the rim is clean before placing a sterilized lid and band on.  Process in water bath for 10 minutes.  Enjoy the marmalade.  I think it will go wonderfully with any pork or chicken dish as a sauce. Yielded 12 pint jars.