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May 2001 Issue
Spring Rolls for the Season
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair! Now that Spring is in full swing, it seems fitting to write about Spring Rolls. This recipe was presented here over 2 years ago, but this time around I am including pictures to assist in making this delicious treat.

One ingredient that I really enjoy in these rolls is the Thai mint leaves called rau thom (not included in the previous recipe). Most oriental markets will carry this plant in bunches like parsley or cilantro. This plant has a delicate yet distict flavor that is very pleasant to the palate. For most westerners, this will be a new food and flavor to enjoy. I have included a picture of this plant so that it will be easier for you to locate in the market. It is also very easy to grow on your own. Simply place some of the stems of the plant into a glass of water for a few days until roots begin to form. Then, transplant into your herb garden or a pot if you prefer to grow it indoors. Once it takes hold in the soil, it will grow like a weed. However, it does not tolerate freezing temperatures well. It also likes quite a bit of moisture. Spearmint can be grown in a similar manner.

These rolls are a wonderful introduction to an oriental meal. Typically, spring rolls are served as an appetizer. I like to eat them for a light lunch or as a snack. When wrapped in plastic, they will keep in the refrigerator for several days, if you don't eat them all first. The wrappers can be found in the oriental section of your local supermarket. The wrappers are usually circular in shape and quite thin. Every name brand that I have found was manufactured in Southeast Asia.

The recipes presented this month are from my yet to be published cookbook, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests. Be well, and good eating!

 

Spring Rolls

These rolls can be use as an introduction to an oriental meal, a snack, or a low calorie lunch. Not only are they healthy for you, but very tasty to eat. Enjoy!
  • 8 sheets spring roll wrappers (usually made from rice or wheat flour)
  • 8 large steamed prawns or shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Bean sprouts (if not available, use shredded lettuce)
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Spearmint leaves
  • Thai mint leaves (Rau ram)
  • Rice vermicelli, boiled until tender (3 to 8 minutes, depending on type)
  • ½ cup peanut sauce for dipping
To make spring rolls, first prepare the wrapper as follows: Dip one sheet of wrapper into a pan of lukewarm water. Before moisturizing, the wrappers are very brittle and fragile, so take care not to crack them. After dipping in water, lie the wrapper on a flat surface, like a cutting board, and arrange the shrimp, red side down, toward one end of the roll as shown in the illustration below. The wrapper will become very pliable as the moisture soaks in.
Put the sprouts, cilantro, mint and rau thom on top of the shrimp and then add the noodles.
Fold the end of the sheet over the top of the fillings and roll into a cylindrical shape half way. Fold the sides inward and complete rolling the remaining half.

Place on a platter for serving and serve with peanut sauce (or plum sauce) for a dipping.

  • Yields: 4 servings (8 rolls)
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

 



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