- Food and Cooking»
- World Cuisines»
- East Asian Cuisine
How to Make Awesome Spring Rolls - this total taste explosion is gluten free
Crab or Chicken Amazing Spring Roll
Sweet and Tangy Crab or Chicken Spring Roll
Spring Rolls - Not as Hard as it Looks
While standing in the produce section of the local grocery store one day lamenting the approach of another salad a thought occurred to me. Salad has become boring to me. I hear you groaning, yes, my friends, great salads with amazing flavor are out there and we've all had them, but let's be honest for a moment...they are still salad, and eating a lot of salad does get boring after a while. While pondering this fact, my thoughts led to a question, "Is there different way to eat healthy veggies with or without meat, that may be worthwhile?" I searched the internet and found that Spring Rolls (originating in Eastern Asia) were a viable option and they were so pretty! The recipe photos were unbelievably interesting and I was curious about making them myself. All the recipes agreed on one point, it is time consuming, so don't try it on a day when you have places to be. There is prep time involved, and patience required.
The ingredients varied so widely that the only rule was clear "there are no rules - if you like it and it's fresh and healthy, go ahead put it in there". I like creativity and art in life and in cooking so this made a Spring Roll even more appealing to me.
What appears in this recipe is basically two spring rolls that I made because I had these things and because they taste good together. You can make your own variation using what you have but do try to keep it gluten free, and be sure you have decent rice paper to wrap the ingredients in, that makes all the difference in how it stays together.
The goodness hidden inside...
Total Time to Prepare Spring Rolls
- 1 large Yellow or Red Bell Pepper, sliced into matchsticks bout 4 inches long
- 1 medium Cucumber, sliced into matchsticks about 4 inches long
- 1 small package Matchstick carrots, use pre-cut as in package
- 1 small head Red leaf lettuce, ripped into roll sized pieces
- 1 medium Lime, cut into quarters for squeezing
- 1 ripe Mango (or 1 Can Mandarin Oranges), mango sliced into strips if using orange - segmented
- 1 ripe Avocado (may sub leek), slice into pieces to fit wrappers
- 1 bunch Scallions (green onions), sliced into thin strips or chopped
- 1 small bunch Cilantro (may sub Italian parsley), chopped or torn into small pieces
- 1 pkg Imitation Crab or Pre cooked chicken strips, cut into slices to fit rice paper
- 3 tbsp Chopped Garlic, prefer jar - but if fresh use less
- 1 tbsp Ginger, fresh grated or puree from jar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil, to cook chicken or imitation crab
- 1 pkg 12 to 15 count Rice Paper Spring Roll Wraps, sold near the Thai food in stores
- 1 jar or bottle Sweet Chili Sauce, pre-made
- 2 Tsp Sea Salt and Pepper Flake, if desired
- 2 Cups (dry) Rice or Jasmine Rice, pre-cooked and warm
Healthy and Pretty
- First you need to slice your veggies into appropriately sized pieces. All the veggies except the lettuce and cilantro (parsley) should be sliced into matchstick like pieces long enough to fit into a folded wrapper. I felt about 4 inches was a workable size. Also, each ingredient should go onto a small plate in the order you plan to use them.
- The lettuce and the cilantro (or parsley if you prefer) are handled differently. Rinse and dry. Rip lettuce into pieces that fit flat in the wrapper and rip the cilantro or parsley into small pieces so as not to be overwhelming when eaten.
- The lime you will use for squeezing over the ingredients in each roll so that gets cut into wedges.
- Chicken or Imitation Crab wants to be cut into pieces that are easy to manage, and fit into the roll. I used bite sized cubes for the chicken and strips for the imitation crab. Use your judgment.
- If you opt for rice in your rolls, it needs to be pre-cooked and warm. Some folks like Jasmine rice, that is fine - Plain rice is fine too.
- Put your oil in a frying pan and have the garlic and ginger ready to go. Also have the sea salt nearby.
- Your spring roll wrappers need to be individually soaked in lukewarm water one at a time just before using each wrapper, so have a bowl of water ready (I used a pie plate)
- You will need a nice clean tea cloth or cloth napkin to use as a work surface, place that on top of some paper towels to absorb excess moisture as you work.
- Have a serving plate ready to go - and place each roll on the plate as you complete wrapping.
- Once everything is set up on the table and ready to go, cook your chicken or imitation crab in a frying pan. Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat with garlic and ginger. Toss in your meat of choice. Coat with the garlic, ginger and oil as you heat the ingredients and be sure to sprinkle with salt and if you like, some pepper flakes.
- Once heated, put into a bowl for use in the spring rolls
Colors Taste Good.
Folding the Top and Bottom to Cover the Goodies
Now We're Ready to Roll!
Start by soaking your first wrapper in water for about 10 seconds. It will be a little stiff when you take it out of the water.
Place that wrapper on your towel or napkin and starting with the lettuce put a little of each item into the center of the wrapper. You need to leave room at the top and bottom to fold the edges over your ingredients. You also need room to roll the paper over making a neat package from left to right (or right to left). Don't over stuff the roll - you want about 12 or 15 when you're finished. Work quickly, the wrapper weakens as it sits.
I used the following: A ripped leaf or two of lettuce,a tablespoon of chicken or crab, a couple slices of cucumber, about 2 or 3 pepper pieces, a little stripe of rice, two mango pieces (or 2 segments of orange), a few cubes of avocado, two strips of scallion, a pinch of carrot, a pinch of cilantro (or parsley), and a little squeeze of lime, was about perfect.
Now once you have it all in the roll, fold the top edge down and the bottom edge up (photo to the right) then starting on left or right side, gently pull one side over the top of everything and tuck while rolling until you have the other side stuck to the part you had in your hands while rolling. (Basically like rolling up a burrito or wrap sandwich only its sticky and you want it to stick to itself when you're done)
Place each roll onto a serving plate as you finish. It is better not to stack them as they do stick to each other.
Repeat the process with each wrapper. Adjust quantities as you see you may be running short.
Pour the pre-made Sweet Chili sauce into small bowls and place on the table. Then serve your beautiful creations as soon as you are finished wrapping all your rolls.
Be amazed at the flavor explosion!
Remember - try it with various ingredients - the only limit is your own imagination!
How Beautiful and Delicious too. Enjoy!
Approximate Information Only
|Serving size: 3 Spring Rolls|
|Calories from Fat||18|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 2 g||3%|
|Unsaturated fat 2 g|
|Carbohydrates 26 g||9%|
|Protein 8 g||16%|
|Cholesterol 17 mg||6%|
|Sodium 340 mg||14%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
© 2014 Karen Quinn