10 May 2010

Spring Roll Tutorial

Oh, spring rolls, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
  1. They're so easy to make!
  2. They're versatile: you can be creative and put nearly anything in them!
  3. They're healthy (if you use the right ingredients and don't fry them, haha)!
  4. They're fun to make!
  5. And, of course, they're delicious!
So, here's how I do my egg-rollin':

Buy some rice paper. I'm pretty sure you can find this in the "international" aisle in your local major supermarket chain (Kroger, Safeway, Stop & Shop, Walmart, etc.) from a number of different brands. I got these at an international supermarket, though.

Choose some fillings. I'm all about well-balanced meals so I make sure I have some veggies and some protein; in this meal, I chose tofu sprinkled with paprika and chili powder, and some julienned carrots and zucchini. I've also used everything from tuna with spinach and avocado to shrimp with zucchini and arugula, and everything in between. Whatever you have on hand is just fine, believe me.

Add some pizzaz. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hot sauce, mustard... whatever you want. But, I must say this: I am absolutely in love with Trader Joe's Satay Peanut Sauce. Love love love love love! I can't say enough about this stuff. It is godly. I use it with rice noodles, stir fry, and even as a substitute for pizza sauce when making home-made pizzas! Obviously, I use it in spring rolls as well, haha. I also use some crushed red pepper flakes to add a bit more spiciness. :)

Ready... assemble! First, you need two plates: one with water, and one without water. The one with water is used to soak your rice paper. The sheets are very thin and look opaque when you first see them. They need to be thoroughly moistened to be useable.

I never soak more than 2 sheets at a time because they tend to get stuck together if you have too many in the water. I let them sit for about 2 or 3 minutes, or until it is very very flexible... it kind of feels like skin when it's ready to be used. I pick up the sheet and shake it off gently, just a little, to get the excess water off of it.

Place the sheet on the empty non-watered plate. I usually let it sit for about 30 seconds before using so that the starch in the paper comes out and allows it all to stick together later. From personal experience, working with wet rice paper makes it really hard to keep your filling contained, and the edges won't stay sealed.

Now, here's the fun part:

Add your ingredients (don't forget the sauce!) in the center of the rice paper like this. Fold the bottom of the sheet upwards.

Fold one side inward...

Fold the top downward...

Then roll!

I make bento lunches for work and spring rolls are very common in them!

There you go! Now, go forth and make spring rolls!

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