Sit. Stay. Cook.

Cook to live. Live to cook.

When I started cooking in earnest a couple of years ago, I thought about what types of food I like to go out for, and how I could make some of those dishes at home. My thoughts immediately turned to Vietnamese cuisine, so I bought a Vietnamese cookbook called Vietnamese Cooking Made Easy and dove right in.

Cut to today, and one of my favorite meals to put together is Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce. I keep most of the ingredients on hand all the time, and I love finding new ways to fill them. They’re a great way to use up veggies that are about to go south, too.

I love eating these spring rolls, but I love making them, too. It’s a bit of a process, but there’s a rhythm to it and once you get going, you fly right through them. Frank and I make them together – he dips the rice paper sheets in warm water for a few seconds to soften them up, and adds rice noodles to the rolls, and I add the other ingredients and roll them up.

There’s really no recipe for these, because they are completely up to your imagination. Use what you like and what’s on hand. Try adding lettuce, pork, chicken, fruit, crushed peanuts – whatever suits your fancy. That’s the great thing about this type of spring rolls – you can make them your own.

The other night, we put some spring rolls together with shrimp, cucumber, carrots and cilantro. We started by cooking some dried rice noodles. While those were boiling, we set up our spring roll station:

Just to the left, where you can’t see, Frank had a shallow bowl filled with warm water. He dipped a piece of rice paper into the water, and held it there for about 10 seconds until the paper was soft and pliable. Then, he passed the softened rice paper over to me and the spring roll station, where I then started filling the spring roll with sliced cucumber:

You want to position the filling just a bit below center.

Next, Frank added some rice noodles, and I added some more fillings:

Once the filling is in place, it’s time to roll. Lift the edge closest to you to start the roll-up:

Then, tuck that edge over the top of and then back under the far side if the filling and pull the filling towards you:

Next, fold in the sides, and keep rolling:

All done! Set your finished spring roll aside and start again until you have enough.

Once you have all your spring rolls made, you need to make some dipping sauce. My favorite is peanut sauce, but Vietnamese fish sauce is good, too. I really like this peanut sauce recipe, because it’s sweet and savory and salty all at once.

Peanut Sauce
Servings: 8
WW Points: 1 per serving

3 Tbsp. reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
1 1/4 tsp. rice-wine vinegar
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, and garlic until smooth. Add the soy sauce, water, vinegar, sriracha and cilantro and stir until combined.

What are your favorite fillings for spring rolls?

No Comments :(