My sister is the Queen of Spring rolls (not to mention stir fry, tempura, teriyaki… but that’s for another day, if we’re lucky). With Chinese New Year around the corner, it seemed like a good time to share a recipe that’s delighted my family for years.
These rolls are fresh, not fried and served cold, but bursting with flavour. They can be prepared and eaten quickly, and the translucent wrapping gives you a peek into the colourful filling.
The first time I made these spring rolls I was frantically trying to measure quantities, but quickly learned that there’s a lot of freedom when making spring rolls. My sister insists on including mint. My son likes the mango and the squirt of lime over the noodles for a sweet and sour combination. And the Vietnamese lady at the grocery store, Helen, said make sure you have crunchy romaine lettuce for texture.
Experiment with ingredients and find your own favourite combination!
Fresh Spring Rolls
- 1/2 small package fine rice noodles
- 10 rice paper wrappers, medium to large
- 1 lime, quartered
- 8 to 10 leaves of romaine lettuce, trimmed and shredded
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 red/orange or green pepper, seeded, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 English cucumber, peeled and julienned
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped fresh coriander
- 1/4 cup (60 mL), chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add the noodles and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes (follow package directions). Plunge the noodles into ice water for about 5 minutes. Drain, cut into bite side portions, and set aside.
- Fill a pie plate with warm water, soak one rice paper for about 5 to 10 seconds, and paper has absorbed some water, and is slightly softened but still firm and pliable. (Make sure that you don’t soak the paper too long as it will be difficult to wrap your filling without tearing). Shake out excess water and place wrapper on work surface.
- Use a tea cloth to gently pat wrapper and dry up any remaining water, if necessary. In the centre of wrapper place a small helping of rice noodles and squirt a few drops of lime juice overtop. Using a small helping of each, layer romaine, mango, carrot, red pepper, cucumber, coriander and mint. Make sure to leave a border of about 2 to 2 .5″on sides, and about 3 to 4″ on bottom and top of rice paper. Don’t overfill, or the rolls will not close neatly, and cause a tear in the rice paper. Holding the rice paper, fold the sides of the roll inwards over the filling first. Next, fold bottom of rice paper over the filling, and lastly bring up the bottom of the rice paper over filling and roll away from you, tightly to hold everything in place. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent rolls from drying out, until ready to eat.
- Serve with dipping sauce. Wrap each spring roll individually with plastic wrap if using for lunch.