If you’ve ever gone to a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, you will have likely tried fresh spring rolls. I grew up only knowing the deliciousness of Filipino spring rolls, but over twenty years ago, I was introduced to these amazingly refreshing fresh spring rolls. It’s a welcome change to fried spring rolls, since we don’t really eat fried food in our house. The Filipino spring rolls usually only make their appearance in our house on holidays, birthdays, or special occasions.
Thai fresh spring rolls have Thai basil, fresh mint leaves, cilantro, and the sauce includes fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, sugar. However, my husband doesn’t really like the flavours of Thai basil and cilantro, so I usually omit those.
Vietnamese spring rolls also have Thai basil, fresh mint leaves and cilantro. They also add chopped peanuts. The sauce has garlic, lime juice, chili, and fish sauce.
The version we make in our home uses the round rice wrappers, loads of fresh, uncooked vegetables, rice vermicelli and optional shrimp or tofu. What I love about these fresh spring rolls are that they are quick and easy to make, easily customizable (everyone in the family can make their own and include the ingredients of their choice as their fillings), and these fresh spring rolls are so light and refreshing. The best thing is that there’s no right or wrong way to make them!
They’re also very aesthetically pleasing with all the different vibrant colours visible through the transparent rice sheets!
- 4 ounces rice vermicelli.
- 16 rice wrappers
- 16 large cooked shrimp - peeled, deveined and cut in half.
- 1 package smoked firm tofu, sliced ½ in thickness
- 1⅓ tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil.
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.
- Mesclun salad mix (or any other lettuce leaves you like)
- ½ cup purple/red cabbage, shredded
- Bean sprouts
- Pea shoots
- 1 each Red, orange, yellow pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 Cucumber, sliced thinly
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- Thai sweet chili dipping sauce
- OR for peanut sauce
- 1" piece ginger, peeled.
- 1 small garlic clove.
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce.
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar.
- ¼ -1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes.
- Prepare rice vermicelli noodles first by boiling a pot of water and cooking the rice noodles for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and put in a bowl.
- Fill a large dish or bowl with warm water. Take a rice paper sheet and dip it in the warm water until it becomes soft and malleable. If you don't dip it long enough, it will be too hard and not easy to roll (or eat!). If you dip it too long, it will be too soft and will break easily. The rice paper sheets are very fragile. It should be the consistency of a very thin paper.
- Lay the sheet on a flat working surface or cutting board. In the centre, add a layer of Mesclun (or whatever greens you want to use. Lettuce works well too. Layer the vegetables of your choice. You can add shrimp or tofu, or keep it completely vegetable-filled only if you like Add the basil, cilantro, pea shoots, and bean sprouts.
- Leave about 2 inches on each side uncovered so that you can roll your wraps. Fold uncovered sides inward tightly roll the wrapper (kind of like wrapping a burrito, but with both ends closed). The rice paper is sticky, so it makes it easy to seal the ingredients inside the spring roll.
Serve these fresh spring rolls with Thai sweet chili dipping sauce.
There you go! Easy fresh spring rolls! If you make these, let me know!