A friend of mine dropped by a few weeks ago with what seemed like a bag of vegetables. I told her “that’s great, let’s make some salads for everyone”. She giggled, “hehe, let’s try something new today, a different kind of salad and it will be fun. Everyone can get involved with making them”. That sounds like fun I thought. My friend is Vietnamese, she was going to show us how to make her mom’s spring rolls.
The recipe is so simple yet it tastes so good. The flavors are fresh. The textures are wonderful with different kinds of chewiness from the rice paper and tofu and the great crunchiness from the various vegetables, herbs, and fruit, but it’s the sauce that puts it over the top. The sweet and savory taste really works well together to complete the flavors. Not only that, spring rolls are healthy for you too.
Okay, flash forward to today. I haven’t had spring rolls in a while and I want them, now!
This is a healthy cheap meal with a lot of flexibility in terms of ingredients. The ingredients minus the sauce, which I already had, came out to 10 bucks. You can use any leafy and root veggies you have on hand it still come out delicious.
So here’s what you need.
Spring Roll Ingredients:
- 1 head of lettuce (romain / green leaf / butter, etc)
- A bunch of mint leaves
- 1 cucumber
- 1 jicama or Asian pear
- 1 box of firm tofu
- 1 carrot
- 1 small daikon (white carrot)
- 1 packet of thin rice paper
- Peanut butter
- Chili Sauce (optional)
2 Hours Before Making Spring Rolls
Before you plan to make spring rolls, plan a couple hours ahead. That’s because we need some time to lightly pickle the carrots and daikon. First, wash the daikon and carrots. Then, skin the outer layers for both root vegetables. After that, julienne the carrot and daikon and put them into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix them up well. Leave at room temperature for 2 hrs.
Prepping the Other Ingredients
- Carefully wash the lettuce leaves, jicama (or asian pear), cucumber, and mint
- Drain the excess water from all vegetables and tofu
- If the lettuce leaves are too big, split into half lengthwise
- Separate mint leaves from stems
- Julienne cucumber, jicama (or pear)
- Cut tofu into thin stripe
Making the Dipping Sauce
It’s just two ingredients and you can make it right before eating. Add 2 tablespoon of hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon of water into a small pot. Add some chili sauce to taste if you prefer it hot. Stir the mixture over medium heat until bubbling. Remove immediately.
This is what the dipping sauce looks like after mixing and heating it up.
How to Roll the Spring Rolls
These the pre-made rice paper wrappers that you can find at any Asian supermarket or even Wholefoods. It’s important to note that you SHOULD NOT make these ahead of time. Spring rolls tasted the best when you make them fresh right before you eat them. It’s also more fun that way.
The rice paper wrappers are dried so get out a big bowl that can fit the thin rice paper and fill the bowl with warm water. Dip and completely submerge the rice paper into the warm water and then take it out immediately and put it on a plate.
Place the lettuce and mint in the middle.
Next add some pickled daikon, carrots, and cucumber.
Add in your tofu and jicama (or Asian pear).
Start rolling the wrap from the edge closest to you.
The final product is quick and easy to make without sacrificing taste. Dip the roll into the sauce and enjoy!