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making spring rolls

rose water Jul 27, 2007 07:21 PM

what a fun summer activity! stopped by a vietnamese grocery (in the bronx, ny of all places!) and got rice paper sheets and holy basil. with a packet of rice stick and some fantastic crisp cucumbers, i was ready to go.

this is a helpful thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/389854

this also has helpful tips: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_22140,00.html?rsrc=search

used this sauce: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...
we subbed some soy sauce and balsamic vinegar for hoisin sauce, which i didn't have; lovely fresh scallions from our CSA for the onion, and added some water and some more soy sauce in the end. it's probably worth doubling this, though fresh lime juice alone is also great.

fillings (not all at once)--rice noodles with some lime juice and rice vinegar, basil, sliced cucumber, sliced pepper, sliced peaches, sliced avocado, scallions, tofu with soy sauce and sesame and ginger oil.

all in all, it was a pleasure to assemble these, and it was a great light summer meal highlighting great fresh herbs and other produce. assembly was a bit of a challenge--the key is to soak the rice paper for 10 seconds and not more, then stick it onto damp towels. And do not overstuff. of course, i couldn't help myself from overstuffing, resulting in misshapen, lumpy blobs. you'll note that i'm not attaching pictures!

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Phnom Penh-Nha Trang Market
2639 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468

  1. PamelaD Jul 28, 2007 05:07 AM

    Thanks for the post... I have not made these in years and I think I hve rice papers in my pantry! Love the lime juice idea. I usually put shrimp in mine...

    1. h
      HillJ Jul 28, 2007 05:38 AM

      rose water, I love spring rolls! My homemade attempts have gone from a lumpy mass (that tasted great but looked ridiculous) to something that nearly resembles my local take out spring roll. I too learned how important a "quick soak" was for the rice paper and I used a tablespoon to gauge filling so I don't overstuff (my tendency too). The moist towel is a must! As for fillings, variations-I've only recently begun to experiment with all the delicious choices..and only after my "technique" had improved.

      So far my fav combo is medium shrimp and shredded chicken with basil, mint, rice noodles and a dressing of 1 part red pepper hot sauce and 2 parts soy.

      practice, practice! :0()

      2 Replies
      1. re: HillJ
        rose water Jul 28, 2007 09:04 AM

        Such discipline! I will admit that I reached a point when I gave up on even my lumpy blob rolls, and went for open faced rice paper sandwiches! I did figure out how to make pretty ones--not overstuffing is key, as well as putting the basil down first so that it shows through the skin of the rolled roll.

        1. re: rose water
          soypower Aug 1, 2007 08:58 PM

          Funny! I usually end up cutting the up the holey ones to throw in a bowl and use the dipping sauce as a dressing. I know this basically ends up being a noodle bowl, but i really like the chewy consistency of the rice paper wrapper.

          Usually put in poached shrimp, some kind of marinated grilled meat, lettuce, cilantro, mint, noodles, bean sprouts, thin slices of fresh jalepeno, and one time -- BACON. yum yum. :o)

      2. Carb Lover Jul 28, 2007 08:02 AM

        Thanks for reminding me that I should make some rolls (I call this non-fried version "summer rolls") soon since I have some wrappers in my pantry. Great way to keep cool in the kitchen and to use up odd and ends in the fridge.

        I like your use of peaches since fruit can add brightness and go well w/ the dipping sauce. I like to use manila mango w/ red bell pepper and shrimp.

        Does anyone have a brand of rice paper wrapper they are loyal to? My Viet market has a number of different brands that vary in translucency and size. Last time I was at one market, the cashier was adamant that the one w/ three ladies was best so I bought that to try. Will report back...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover
          rose water Jul 28, 2007 09:02 AM

          Ah, I forgot to link to this thread, which I didn't end up using, but it was a pleasure to come across it again. Such gorgeous, tempting photos! http://www.chowhound.com/topics/305892

          I'm very excited about the summer roll possibilities, and would love to hear about your odds and ends rolls--what a great use for leftovers!

          I ended up buying Peacock Brand wrappers, but I can't say how they compare with others without having done this before. When I get through the many dozen wrappers in this package, I'll compare to other things, and report back.

          1. re: rose water
            Carb Lover Jul 29, 2007 09:24 AM

            I actually don't make summer rolls that often, but your thread made me realize that I can deviate from the traditional fillings for a quick weeknight meal. For instance, I have some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge right now that would be great for this application. And I often have small amounts of cucumber, radish, carrot, green beans, etc. along w/ many fresh herbs that I can't use quickly enough before they spoil. Oh, the possibilities are endless! I'll report back on what I throw together in the coming weeks...

            PS. Nice photo below, Rubee!

          2. re: Carb Lover
            Rubee Jul 28, 2007 11:32 AM

            I used Asian Boy Banh Trang Que Huong brand recently when I made a version on the Nigella thread (I used rice noodles, Chinese roast duck, scallions, cilantro, mint and purple basil).

            I LOVE the idea of using peaches - I've used mango and shrimp before, but I think peach is brilliant. Hmmm. I might have to try peach and duck summer rolls next weekend.

             
            1. re: Carb Lover
              chef chicklet Jul 29, 2007 10:26 AM

              I find them at Cost Market Place, Blue Dragon, I buy those when I can't get into Chinatown. I find them very good quality.

            2. c
              ctl98 Jul 28, 2007 05:47 PM

              I love fresh spring rolls! The fresh, clean flavors really shine through. I really like the texture of rice paper wrappers too.

              http://feedingtheboys.blogspot.com/20...

              2 Replies
              1. re: ctl98
                chef chicklet Jul 29, 2007 10:28 AM

                Great pictures!! Not to mention that the korean rib thing looks delicious as well.
                I like a little mint in my spring rolls too.

                1. re: chef chicklet
                  c
                  ctl98 Jul 29, 2007 05:51 PM

                  Thanks Chef Chicklet! I like mint too, and cilantro. But unfortunately all I had that day was Thai basil. Still very good though..

              2. h
                houdini Jul 29, 2007 05:21 PM

                I love those things!!
                I use very hot water and just dip the rice paper several seconds. On to a wet towel and fill. It's great with shrimp or left over whatever. Fresh mint and Thai basil is almost a requisite. They don't keep well, but that is seldom a problem.

                1. hannaone Jul 29, 2007 10:29 PM

                  I like to wrap steamed carrot strips, pickled daikon strips, seasoned spinach, bean sprouts, with any of: crab, korean spicy grilled chicken, tuna, or Korean spicy pork.

                  1. katkoupai Jul 29, 2007 10:33 PM

                    I've always wanted to learn how to make fresh spring rolls, but it does take a special touch. I have a feeling that I would make them very poorly. It's easier to just buy them from someone who knows how to make them, in my case. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: katkoupai
                      rose water Jul 30, 2007 10:21 AM

                      You know, it doesn't really take a special touch at all. What was most exciting to me about making these is that, my fussing with fillings aside, it's really very simple to do. Dunk a rice paper in hot water for 10 seconds, stick it on wet towels, fill but don't overstuff, roll up. And your avatar has me imagining other non-traditional possibilities--I bet some rice stick, lettuce and pomegranate would be delicious!

                    2. k
                      kenito799 Aug 1, 2007 05:42 PM

                      Thank you, these were incredibly fun to make and turned out great. I combined elements from the Tyler Florence recipe you cite and the shrimp method and dipping sauce from here:
                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      Actually I added garlic to the dipping sauce, but omitted vinegar: just lime juice (1 1/2 limes), turbinado sugar (2 Tbsp), hot water (3 Tbsp), 1 clove pressed garlic, the cloudy Thai anchovy sauce (2 Tbsp) and some sriracha.

                      Filling was simple: (1) rice noodles cooked in the water that the shrimp had been poached in, chilled and tossed with lime juice, sesame oil and chopped peanuts (2) fresh mint, holy basil and cilantro (3) 3 shrimp per roll. They were really beautiful, and delicious, with the dipping sauce and extra sriracha squeezed on each bite. We ate them too fast to take pictures, but next time.

                      1. sonofoodie Aug 1, 2007 07:13 PM

                        These are so great in the summer - I guess that's why they call them "summer rolls", sometimes salad rolls. My favorites...3 slices of shrimp (if you slice them in half and lay them along the one end, you still get a bite of shrimp in each bite, and it makes it easier to roll up the filling with all the other good stuff), rice vermicelli, avocado, sliced carrot, mint leaf and arugula (instead of lettuce...but I like lettuce, too). Sometimes hearts of palm, sometimes jicama...and sometimes even a slice of pork tenderloin that's been poached in chicken stock.

                        Really, this roll lends itself well to creative ingenuity. Just look in the fridge and see what calls your name...the possibilities are endless.

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