Spring rolls are one of the things on my culinary to-do list. I know we all have those to-do lists and mine extends to basically any cuisine. Sometimes it is a dish I like, sometimes it is something that is not easily found around and sometimes it is just because it offers a challenge.
Back to Spring Rolls, crunchy or soft, Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese these babies rank high on my favorite foods list. Eating Chinese is never complete for me if I don’t have spring rolls. Not to mention they are fun to eat, always something new to discover. Whether it is with the stuffing or the dips the possibilities are appealing.
So you can imagine my enthusiasm when I got the ingredients to make my own. I did not do any research since the package recipe of the rice papers sounded good to go. Plus I decided to buy the ingredients on a whim, so it was the only reference I had.
Project Spring Rolls – Take one:
The recipe was easy enough but it did not deliver the taste I imagined. It was simply bland! Even the wonderful chilli and mango sauce and soy sauce (I know it is not authentic but I looove soy sauce!) could not help! Part of it was me part of it was I don’t know what!
My part was I went a bit too strong on the noodle’s quantity so the end result was kind of gooey.
But you think I gave up? Nope I repeated my adventure about a week later…
Project Spring Rolls – Take two:
I was on lazy mode last Sunday and I forced myself to make my Spring Rolls then and there. A girl has to eat you know?
Although this time I did some research and got some tips to improve my Spring Rolling skills!
Tips all over the blogosphere proposed to season the vegetables or the noodles. I thought this would be a good idea to overcome the “blandness”. Some tips said to wilt the veggies with some onions and flavorings but I wanted fresh vegetables so it was out of the question.
Also learning from my first experience, I went easy on the noodles that I seasoned with rice vinegar. I also thought about seasoning my shrimps with some soy sauce. After all I am a big fan of soy sauce. My second attempt delivered a better result than the first. Making progress!
Although this time I did not follow any recipe I just saw what veggies were available in the fridge. I got my hands on some iceberg lettuce, half of a bell pepper (although up until this morning I believed it was a pasilla pepper, but I had an epiphany and I remembered it was a bell pepper) and carrots.
At this point I was complaining to Clint, my TB/fiancé, who decided to play my knight in shining armor and ask one of his many Asian colleagues about a recipe. He has tasted these recipes before and he swore they were awesome.
Obviously, I also get a new tip with the deal. The most important maybe of all tips, one that might seem insignificant as it is always the case in the kitchen: the shrimps should be rolled separately from the veggies.
One last thing to share and that I learned in my short Spring Rolling experience: Don’t soak the rice papers beyond a couple of seconds. This will be enough for them to soften, otherwise they will become too sticky to handle. This fact I learned as I left a rice paper soaking while I took a couple of pictures.
So the project continues, next time I try the new recipe, ask if it is possible to post it, and share my experience.
As for this time I will post the initial recipe I made, I hope you can make it work better.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
(from the package of Blue Dragon Spring Rolls Rice Paper)
- 40g Stir-Fry Rice Noodles
- 4 spring roll wrappers
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 20g bean sprouts
- 12 medium sized prawns
- A handful of mint and coriander
- Cook the rice noodles according to pack instructions. Refresh under cold water, drain and chop.
- Prepare the Spring Rolls Wrappers according to pack instructions.
- Divide the lettuce leaves, noodles, strips of carrot, bean sprouts, prawns, mint and coriander between the wrappers.
- Fold the wrappers and serve with dipping sauce.