If you’re like me, you spend way too much money going out for sushi, ordering Chinese take-out, dining at hibachi restaurants and enjoying other delicious East Asian cuisines. Now there’s no need to spend a fortune on one of your favorite treats; these fresh spring rolls are easy to make and very versatile. You can make a few for a quick lunch, a bunch for a party appetizer, or keep some in the fridge for a healthy snack — and as long as you have spring roll paper, you can use any filling of your choice.
- Spring roll paper
- Grilled Chicken
1. The first step is to prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumber and carrots (you can use baby carrots or large carrots) into small sticks about 3-4 inches long. Slice up the avocado and rip lettuce into pieces no bigger than a deck of cards.
2. Next, prepare the chicken (or the protein of your choice). I used leftover grilled chicken from a previous dinner, but feel free to prepare it however you’d like (teriyaki sauce is a great marinate for chicken for this dish). If you do have leftovers, this is a perfect time to use them. You aren’t limited to chicken; spring rolls commonly feature shrimp, tofu or real or imitation crab. Slice the protein into pieces about the same size as the vegetables.
3. Once you have everything sliced, assemble it on a plate. Take a piece of spring roll paper (which can be found in the international section of grocery stores, or in specialty food stores) and place it into a shallow bowl of very hot water. I used a large frying pan, because it was the perfect size for the spring roll paper and easily heated the water. You don’t want the water to be boiling, just hot.
4. It should only take a few seconds for the hard spring roll paper to become soft and very fragile. Once the paper is flexible, reach in and gently remove it from the pan or bowl. Let the excess water drip off, and place it onto a flat dry surface, like a cutting board.
5. Assemble your filling in the bottom 1/3 of the paper, leaving about one inch of rice paper on either side. Once assembled, fold the paper over the filling, and tightly roll it over once.
6. Continue rolling until you are halfway down the paper. Fold each side in, and continue to roll tightly until the entire paper is used. Carefully cut the roll in half.
These spring rolls are fresh and delicious by themselves, but one great characteristic of spring roll paper is that it absorbs the flavor of whatever sauce it is dipped in. I chose to make two dipping sauces: peanut and honey mustard.
Peanut Sauce: Combine a teaspoon of chicken base with about 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in about two tablespoons of peanut butter. After stirring for a few minutes the ingredients should be smoothly blended. Add more water and stir until it reaches the desired consistency.
Honey Mustard: To transform your favorite honey mustard into a spring roll dipping sauce, add water to make it a thinner consistency. If you don’t have honey mustard on hand, just stir honey and any type of mustard together until it suites your taste and preference.
Feel free to get creative when filling and dipping your spring rolls. Try adding cut pineapple, green onion, basil leaves, rice noodles, bean sprouts or any number of things. Dip into sweet pepper sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki, or another type of dressing.
These rolls are easy to prepare and offer a good balance of veggies and protein packed in a healthy snack. Next time you’re tempted to hit a local restaurant, give these a try instead.
Lauren Mazzo is an intern at College Lifestyles (TM), a Journalism student at Ithaca College and a member of Ithaca College Cheerleading. She is a proud chocoholic and grammar junkie.