The clean, refreshing taste of vegetable-packed spring rolls is particularly pleasing on a warm spring or summer day. And, they’re a great vehicle for eating sweet chili sauce, which we love. You can eat these as an appetizer, or just go all out and have nothing but spring rolls for dinner.
Put some water in a large saucepan and put it on to boil. Cook up a package of thin rice noodles, allowing to cook until al dente. Drain, rinse, and toss in a bowl with a tsp or two of sesame oil and a few tablespoons of sweet red chili sauce.
Slice a block of firm tofu into four long slabs and fry in a bit of vegetable oil, either on a griddle or in a nonstick frying pan, until golden. Flip and fry on the other side. Then slice into matchstick size. (You can also use shrimp instead of tofu.)
Chop a red bell pepper and a peeled cucumber into matchsticks. Also, chop up a bunch of cilantro leaves and a cup or so of salted peanuts.
In a shallow, square baking dish, pour about two inches of very hot (but not scalding) water. Slide in a rice paper spring roll skin and let sit for maybe 20 seconds, until it’s flexible. (Don’t let it sit too long, or it’ll be so flexible it falls apart.)
Lay the rice paper round on a work surface. Place some of the spring roll noodles in the middle (not too many, or it’ll get bulgy). Add a pinch of cilantro leaves, a sprinkle of peanuts, a matchstick each of red bell pepper and cucumber, and a matchstick of tofu.
Fold both ends over the filling, and then roll tightly.
(If you get impatient with rolling, or if you’re in a hurry, you can also make a lovely deconstructed spring roll salad, using all of the ingredients minus the wrappers.) Dip in sweet chili sauce and enjoy.
- Spring Roll Rice Paper Rounds (a package of ten or more)
- Thin Rice Noodles (1 package)
- 1 cucumber
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 block firm tofu (or similar amount of shrimp)
- 1 cup peanuts
- sweet chili sauce
- 1 bunch cilantro