Monday, May 2, 2011

Fresh Spring Rolls

This past weekend was an epic one.  We celebrated the boy's birthday outdoors at Fort Mason on Saturday, saw a friends band at Maggie McGarry's, and the boy's baseball game on Sunday.  We were exhausted, sun soaked and looking for something light and fresh for dinner.  I found some spring roll wrappers at a random grocery store and suggested we make Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp.  We had initially decided on doing a whole Vietnamese themed dish with some Coconut Curry Chicken but after we consumed 3 spring rolls each, we were equally stuffed and exhausted from this weekend.  We called an audible and decided to marinate the chicken overnight to cook the next day, hopefully the Chicken will be in another blog post - if it's good.

I made two different dipping sauces for these Spring Rolls.  I always love a peanuty one, but decided to make another one, more sweet fish sauce/soy type.

Fresh Spring Rolls:

6 sheets of circular rice paper
15-18 cooked shrimp, depending on how big the shrimp are, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cucumber, seeded, sliced julienne (thin strips)
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots (I got a bag of it at TJ's)
1 small yellow pepper, sliced julienne
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 hand full of rice noodles
1/4 cup mango, thinly sliced
hand full of mint leaves

Bring a kettle to boil.  In a heat proof dish, pour the boiled water over the rice noodles and let them cook.  It will take about 4-5 minutes.  Take them out of the hot water and put in a dish to cool.  In another circular dish large enough to hold the circular rice paper (I used a cake pan, but a pie plate works too), add some more of the hot water and let come to a temperature you can handle with bare hands.  Have a clean tea towel layed out and all of your other vegetables/fillings you would like to put in the roll.

Soak the rice paper in the hot water for 10 seconds, no more or it will get mush on you.  Take out the rice paper (it will still be a little firm) and place it on the towel.  Add all the fillers you want in the middle of the circle, and wrap like a burrito - the long side first, then the short sides and roll up as tight as possible.  (The boy will have you know that I am not the best wrapper/roller, all of mine weren't as tight as I wanted them, he is a much better roller than I am.)

Sweet Soy and Fish Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 knob of ginger, graded
1/4 tsp jalapeno, minced
1/2 a shallot, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat up the water and sugar and let dissolve.  Add all the other ingredients and let come to a very small simmer.  Taste for seasoning.  Pour into a small bowl to serve for dipping.  Use that same saucepan to make the second sauce (no need to wash - I'm all about saving time and making the boy do the fewest amount of dishes).

Peanut Dipping Sauce:

1 tbsp curry paste (I used green)
1/3 cup peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural)
few splashes of soy sauce
few splashes of fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp freshly graded ginger
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/8 - 1/4 cup water or so to make the consistency

In that same sauce pan, heat up the curry paste for a minute.  Add the peanut butter and stir to combine.  Make sure the heat is on low at this point.  Add in everything else and whisk to combine.  You may need to add some more water to thin it out.  Pour into another small bowl to serve for dipping.

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