I love spring rolls but have yet to be adventurous enough to make them at home…until now. They were so easy, I can’t believe I thought it would elevate me to “adventurous” status to actually make them! I’m still quite boring, unfortunately.
These spring rolls are so bright and fresh and flavorful, they’ll have you singing from the rooftops about how many vegetables you are consuming without realizing it. And the dipping sauce? Like icing on the cake (or roll, if you will). The tender chewiness of the spring roll wrapper encloses the fantastic crunch of healthful vegetables and the delicious Thai-inspired marinaded chicken.
Understandably, some of you may be nervous about the Asian-style ingredients, but keep in mind that I live in Timbuktu (or nearly) and I was easily able to locate all of these ingredients, including the rice paper wrappers, at my local, larger grocery store. I’ve included step-by-step photos of the rolling process below the recipe.
P.S. Another gluten-free recipe – be sure to check the labels on the Asian ingredients to double check gluten-freeness (uh, is that a word?). The giveaway is still open, so don’t forget to enter! Winners will be announced tomorrow.
Note: this recipe requires marinating the meat, so plan ahead! Also, check the labels on the bottled Asian ingredients to double check that they are gluten-free.
- 2 pounds chicken breasts or boneless pork chops
- about 30 10-inch diameter spring roll wrappers (rice, tapioca, etc.)
- 1 pound fresh bean sprouts
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
- 1 large English cucumber, cut into thin strips
- large bunch of fresh herbs, washed (I used basil and cilantro)
- large bunch of fresh lettuce leaves, washed
- warm water in a large shallow bowl or pie plate (large enough to accommodate a spring roll wrapper)
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste to taste
- 8 oz hoisin sauce (the Y&Y brand is gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed through a garlic press
- 1/2 teaspoon chile-garlic paste
- Whisk together all the marinade ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a ziploc bag. Place the meat in the bag and marinate, refrigerated, for an hour or two. Grill or broil the meat until it is cooked through. Set aside to cool. When cool, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices.
- For the sauce, mix all of the sauce ingredients together until combined. If the sauce is too thick, add hot water and mix in until you achieve a desired consistency. Set aside.
- Assemble the spring rolls (see step-by-step photos below) by dipping one spring roll sheet into a shallow bowl of warm water for a second or two and setting it flat on your plate. Layer lettuce, herbs, vegetables, and meat in a small strip about 1/3 of the way from the edge nearest you. Roll from the edge nearest you and tuck in the sides as you go if you wish. Roll tightly, but not so tightly that you tear the wrapper. Serve the rolls with the dipping sauce on the side.
After dipping the rice paper wrapper in water, lay it flat on a large cutting board and layer the vegetables/ingredients on the lower third of the wrapper, leaving a small border on the sides and bottom and a large border on the top.
Take the bottom of the wrapper and gently bring it up and around the ingredients, gently pressing on the ingredients with your fingers to keep the filling in place. The wrappers have a bit of “stretch” to them but can tear easily so don’t pull too hard.