I found shrimp on sale at the store and I was really excited. I wasn’t too sure what to make with them, but I’ve made a few asian inspired meals lately so I thought spring rolls sounded like a nice challenge. Rice paper can be a little tricky to work with, but other than that, this is a very simple meal. No cooking. Well unless you buy raw shrimp, but mine were already cooked. Here’s what you’ll need:
Ingredients for the spring rolls
- 1 lb cooked shrimp
- 2 ounces cellophane noodles
- 1/2 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup carrots, grated
- 1 green apple, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 16 mint leaves
- 16 cilantro leaves
- 16 rice paper sheets
Ingredients for the dipping sauce
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 Tablespoon substitute soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup hot water
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
Make the dipping sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until the spring rolls are ready to serve. It’s pretty easy, just add all the ingredients to a bowl, then add hot water and mix well. Words of advice: fresh ginger doesn’t last very long and you can’t really buy just a little of it, so I keep mine in the freezer in an airtight bag and grate it frozen whenever I need it. Also, choose your peanut butter carefully. I like mine to have only one ingredient: peanuts. No oil, especially not hydrogenated. It has a very strong taste and makes the sauce taste even better. When you add the red pepper flakes, make sure to taste the sauce, so you have the desired amount of heat. I used almost half a teaspoon.
Now, prep all your veggies and fruits. Thinly slice the cabbage and cucumber, grate the carrots (I used 1 carrot to get about 1/3 cup, maybe a little more), get whole mint and cilantro leaves from the bunch. For the apple, after it’s been sliced, put a little lime juice on it to keep its nice color and add a pinch of salt for taste. Apples and salt may sound a little weird, but I find it brings out really good flavors.
Cook the cellophane noodles (also called bean thread noodles). Place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes and they’ll be ready to use.
Place the shrimp in another bowl. If they are big, cut them in half, lengthwise. If they are small like mine were, just use them as is.
Now, it’s time to put the spring rolls together. Get a deep dish and fill it with hot water from the tap (not boiling, just hot). Immerse one sheet of rice paper in the water and after a little less than a minute, it should become very soft and malleable. Carefully place it on a clean work surface and get some of the extra water out with paper towel. When you take the rice paper sheet out of the water, put a new one in, so you can work faster. You may have to add more hot water once or twice during the process.
Now, it’s time to actually make some delicious spring rolls. Place your filling on the rice paper sheet, about 1/3 of the way in. I used 4 small shrimps, 4 slices of apple, 2 slices of Napa cabbage, 2 slices of cucumber, 3 shreds of carrot and about a Tablespoon of cellophane noodles per spring roll. Obviously, you can adjust this to your liking. Also, don’t forget 1 mint and 1 cilantro leaf. If you want big bites of flavor, you can keep them whole, but I prefer when it is a little bit more subtle; fresh mint is very fragrant. But not a problem, I just chopped my herbs.
And there! You’re all done. Don’t forget to serve it with the peanut butter dipping sauce. I can’t wait to make these again. It’s such a fresh and healthy meal, full of delicious flavors.