A few years ago I was travelling around Thailand when I had the wonderful fortune to learn how to make spring rolls without frying them in a buttload of oil.
I love spring rolls but I can never eat more than 2 at a restaurant without feeling bad and trying to ignore the mounting grease on my fingers. I had never even thought about making fresh spring rolls until I attended May Kaidee’s vegetarian cooking course in Bangkok, and found out that with these treats no deep fryer is necessary!
They’re super simple and taste both fresh and filing, and I can eat about a hundred.
5-6 sheets of round rice paper
2 nests cooked vermicelli noodles
1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro if you’re North American!)
1 handful beansprouts
1 cup of one kind of grated or thin veggies; grated carrot works really well, as does baby corn, very thinly sliced red peppers or sliced chestnuts (available tinned)
sweet chili sauce for dipping
To ready the rice paper:
Fill a frying pan with cold water
Submerge 2 rice papers in the water
Move them around slightly with your fingertips until they are moist; it only takes a minute or so
Quickly but gently lift one paper out and place in into a sheet of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel
Put another kitchen paper / tea towel on top of it
Quickly and gently lift the other out and place on top
Put one more kitchen paper / tea towel on top of that and press down slightly
After a few seconds they’re ready to be used
Gently lift the first paper and put it flat onto a plate. It will be very keen to stick to both you and itself so its best to do this as quickly as possible!
Place some vermicelli slightly in the top half of the paper, in the centre
Place a small amount of beansprouts, veggies and coriander on top of the noodles
Lift the top of the paper and fold it to just over the noodle pile
Fold in both sides; they will stick to the top of the other paper
You should now have a sort of envelope of foods with a long bit extending down
Grab the paper-wrapped food pile and roll it into the rest of the paper. This will create your roll, as the paper will stick to itself.
Set aside and repeat for the other paper
Voila! Dip and enjoy!
This method takes away all the guilt of fried spring rolls and ensures that this dish is a healthy lunch or appetizer. Once you’ve got the hang of the rolling, you’ll see how easy they are and then no one will stop you! Hooray!