Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

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Photo © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

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Vietnamese Fresh Salad Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 package clear edible rice spring roll sheets (http://www.amazon.com/Spring-wrappers-paper-Erawan-brand/dp/B000F3NQKS)
  • 1/2 lb cooked shrimp – peeled, deveined & cut in half.  Omit these or use a flavored tofu instead if you do not eat shrimp.  Cooked, sliced pork works, too.
  • 1 bunch cilanto – fresh
  • 1 bunch mint – fresh (Thai sweet basil is nice, too, if you can find it)
  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and separated into leaves – ribs removed
  • 2 carrots, peeled & cut into very thin matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into very thin strips
  • 1 package vermicelli rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
 Be sure you have the type of wrappers pictured below (or another brand) and not eggroll or wonton wrappers.  Those are an entirely different breed & need cooking.

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 Directions:

Prepare the shrimp (or tofu or pork or other filling) & vegetables in advance – being sure they are washed & dried.  Have a large bowl of warm water ready for dipping the spring roll wrappers.
  • 1  Dip a sheet of spring roll wrapper into water very quickly, no longer than a second or two (or they will get too soggy) and lay flat on a work surface.
  • 2  On one edge, lay a small handful of noodles,a row of shrimp, some cilantro and mint leaves, a lettuce leaf, some cucumber & carrot strips – being careful not to overstuff the wrapper.
  • 3  Roll up burrito style, tucking in the sides, then continue to roll up-but not too tightly or the spring roll wrapper will tear.
You will, no doubt, need a few attempts to get one right. Be patient – it gets easier.  Be prepared to throw a bunch away or to settle for some funky shaped rolls!  They should be served fairly quickly after preparing them. Too much time in the fridge after assembly will dry them out. These can be filled with nearly anything – cooked pork and mango, for example – so feel free to get creative!

You can BUY a spicy peanut sauce in a jar or can at most Asian markets or online (for example – http://www.lynmarket.com/proddetail.asp?prod=011152198903).  They are usually quite good, but, if you are feeling motivated –

Spicy Peanut Sauce Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Using a food processor or blender, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal oelek, brown sugar, lime juice and coconut milk and puree to combine all ingredients.
  2. Pour the hot water slowly into the blender or processor, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more to thin-out the sauce if needed.
  3. Serve the peanut sauce into a community serving bowl – or individual bowls (as you prefer)
  4. Garnish with a squeeze of sriracha (it will mix into the peanut sauce so use more or less – depending on your tolerance for spicy food) and a sprig of cilantro

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