On the way home from having lunch with my wife, I noticed that there was a new oriental market that opened up by her office, so I swung by to check it out. It was a nice little place and the owners were very helpful. I had been on a quest for rice paper for a while checking the local supermarkets without finding any. This place had a few to choose from so spring rolls were on the menu for dinner. So let’s roll on in on how to make them.
As you can see I picked up some crab meat from the store, along with some bean sprouts and Thai basil. I julienned some carrots and sliced some romaine lettuce somewhat thin to go inside the rolls.
With everything all laid out nicely the tricky part starts now, softening the rice paper sheets. There are two ways of going about this task. One way is the long soak in cold water; the other is the quick soak in hot water. This part is totally up to you, but remember, there is only a limited amount of time to make and roll it. I prefer warmish water for a medium soak. This leaves the sheet somewhat firm yet flexible while you are working with it. Practice with a few using one ingredient, like the carrot sticks, until you are comfortable wrapping them up in a tight roll.
I find it easiest to roll them on a wood cutting board; they tend to stick to the counter top. Plus, you can leave the leading edge hanging off the board to make it easier to pick up and roll. Dip the rice paper in the bowl of water for however long you choose.
Place the wrapper in front of you. Imagine a clock on the face of the rice paper. Place the ingredients in a line as if you were filling the face of a clock between 4 & 5 o’clock across to between 7 & 8 o’clock. Now bring the 6 o’clock flap, which was hanging off the board, up and over the ingredients and roll tightly a little bit towards 12 o’clock.
Now take the sides and fold them towards the center, making a tight package encasing the ingredients. Continue rolling to 12 o’clock position. Right before you totally roll it, stop and rewet the top of the roll so the flap really sticks to the roll. Hopefully you will end up with something like the picture below.
I got the first one done and I realized I had no dipping sauce!!! You could go out and get some sweet chili sauce in a bottle, but that’s not for me. I want spicy peanut dipping sauce!
In another bowl combine 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce & water and however much ground cayenne power and black pepper you can stand. We like it hot! If the sauce is still too thick, keep adding water to thin it out to your liking. Adjust the heat to your liking also.
Make the rest of the rolls and keep them in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to eat them.
That night we had the Spring Rolls along with the spicy peanut dipping sauce and a chilled bottle of Sake that was recommended by the owners of the shop. A very nice end to a great day.